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Multiverses, Spider-Man & The MCU – Part Three

This is a multi-part series that is a slightly modified version of my MSc Dissertation.

Here is Part One & Part Two.

When you watched spider-verse for the 10th time : r/spiderversedailymemes

Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018, Rodney Rothman & Peter Ramsey)

In this part there is a breakdown of the success of the Spider-Man IP in the cinema, the purpose of which is to give necessary financial and business context behind the decisions that I will focus on in later parts. Here I give a brief history of the IP, with emphasis on the transition from the solo Sony produced Sam Raimi and Mark Webb directed movies, to the co-produced Disney/Marvel and Sony Jon Watts directed features.

A (Brief) History of Spider-Man

As Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) says in Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018, Rodney Rothman, Peter Ramsey & Bob Perischetti), “Lets do this one last time”. The irony here being that there is never going to be “one last time” with the character of Spider-Man. The character has had multiple screen adaptations, since the creation of Spider-Man by Steve Ditko & Stan Lee with the release of Amazing Fantasy #15 in 1962, as well as many, many different versions of the character in comics and video-games.

The solo Spider-Man films have collectively grossed over $8.26 billion worldwide over 19 years, since 2002. There have been 3 separate live-action versions of the character since 2002, with the animated film Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse) introducing the multiverse, and interconnected versions of the character to cinema audiences.

The first cinema release was in 1977 with The Amazing Spider-Man TV series, starring Nicholas Hammond. There were three made-for-TV movies based on this version of the character, which were re-edited TV episodes, Spider-Man (1977, E.W. Swackhamer), Spider-Man Strikes Back (1978, Ron Satlof), and Spider-Man: The Dragon’s Challenge (1981, Don McDougall).

There was a Japanese Spider-Man tokusatsu TV series in 1978, produced by Tōei, which had a theatrical spin-off released in 1978 and directed by Kōichi Takemoto.

The next live-action cinema release was not until 2002 with Spider-Man (2002, Sam Raimi), produced by Columbia Pictures and distributed by Sony Pictures. This is widely seen as the first big screen adaptation of the character, with Tobey Maguire starring in the lead role. There were two sequels, Spider-Man 2 (2004, Sam Raimi) and Spider-Man 3 (2007, Sam Raimi). Collectively the series grossed $2.09billion, with the first two instalments critically acclaimed.

The character was rebooted by Sony Pictures in 2012, with the release of The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012 directed by Marc Webb and starring Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. A sequel was released in 2014, The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The two films grossed $1.45billion worldwide. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the lowest grossing film based on the character when it was released, and  has also the lowest Rotten Tomatoes Critic % score.

Due to the negative reaction, both financially and critically to The Amazing Spider-Man 2, there was a concerted effort for Marvel to regain, or at least help with, the IP of Spider-Man. According to Ben Fritz, in his book The Big Picture – which gives context to the 2014 Sony e-mail hack – the e-mail hack revealed to the whole world the negotiations taking place between Marvel and Sony, and the fallout of the failure of The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

According to Fritz,

            ““Feige, meanwhile, targeted Pascal. At lunch on a patio outside her office, in the summer after The Amazing Spider-Man 2, he pitched his fellow creative executive on the benefits of having Marvel Studios produce the next film, so that Peter Parker could join the same cinematic universe as Iron Man, Captain America, and Thor. “I love Spider-Man and I want to help,” he told her.

Pascal was so offended, she threw her sandwich at Feige and told him, playfully but truthfully, to “get the fuck out of here.” Turning the character over would be an insult, she felt, not just to her but to the entire studio”[1]

Once the general public saw these emails, and knew of the possibility that Spider-Man could end up in the MCU alongside Iron Man, Captain America and Thor, this forced the hand of Sony and Amy Pascal to once again reboot the property. This leads to this iteration of the character appearing in Captain America: Civil War (2016, Anthony Russo & Joe Russo), Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017, Jon Watts), Avengers: Infinity War (2018, Anthony Russo & Joe Russo), Avengers: Endgame (2019, Anthony Russo & Joe Russo), Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019, Jon Watts), and finally Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021, Jon Watts).

To Be Continued Text Comic Book Style Typography Vector Illustration - Arte vetorial de stock e mais imagens de Banda Desenhada - Publicação - iStock——–

[1] Fritz, B. (2018). The Big Picture: The Fight For The Future Of Movies. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.

1 Comment so far

  1. Pingback: Multiverses, Spider-Man & The MCU – Part Four – SUPERATOMOVISION

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