Contract With Fox May Keep Marc Webb From Helming 'Amazing Spider-Man' Sequel

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by Kevin Jagernauth
July 19, 2012 8:58 AM
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With $530 million worldwide in the bank for "The Amazing Spider-Man" and that figure set to grow even higher (even if "The Dark Knight Rises" is looming in the near distance), Sony can feel confident that their plans for a proposed trilogy of the rebooted franchise are off to a strong start. With a 2014 release date already slated for the sequel, the wheels are going to have to start turning soon on that one, but it seems the studio will need to find a new director.

When we talked to Webb recently and asked him about returning, he said that he's "had conversations," but added that "It's like asking a woman who's just given birth if they want to get pregnant again. I'm still nursing the baby!" But it seems more practical reasons are being proffered about why he might not return. "We'd really like him back, but there are obstacles. He has an obligation to Fox," Columbia Pictures chief Doug Belgrad told THR, referring to the film that Webb stills owes Fox, after releasing "(500) Days of Summer" via Fox Searchlight.

But is that the only reason no one is in a rush to sign Webb back on? And is this a big smoke screen for something larger at play? As we outlined after the film came out, rumbles of Sony being unhappy with the picture were beginning to spill out beyond the studio walls.

Many of their issues with Webb's then-in-progress are byproducts of problems we detailed in our The Good The Bad The Ugly feature. Forced to wrestle with studio demands, the compromised "The Amazing Spider-Man" clearly went through some post-production trauma that found plotlines and characters -- some of which were featured in trailers and stills for the movie -- axed or reworked, sometimes incomprehensibly. And when asked if there were problems on 'Spider-Man,' Belgrad hinted that Webb's lack of experience with effects might have been a hindrance. "The section where Rhys Ifans' character turns irrevocably into the Lizard. It took several months to figure out, and the filmmakers cut a bunch of scenes. In software parlance, it required a patch," he said.

With "Transformers" writers Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci being hired this spring to write the follow-up, it's clear that Sony wants more bang and boom in part two, and Webb may not be the right person for where they want to go next. As for Webb, he told us he is working on "Age of Rage," a Fox Searchlight film he signed on for in January 2011. Penned by "Black Swan" scribe Marc Heyman, the movie is described as "Children of Men" meets "Lord of the Flies" and is set in a near post-apocalyptic future and tells the story of a virus that kills everyone over the age of 18, forcing a group of teenagers to band together to find the cure. So it seems like spectacle but on a character-driven scale, which Webb displayed he can handle very well during the best moments of 'Spider-Man.' But again, whether this will be Webb's next effort remains to be seen.

We'll likely have some kind of answer soon as "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (or whatever it will be called) is slated to hit theaters on May 2, 2014.

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5 Comments

  • jeremy | July 27, 2012 2:04 AMReply

    well this one was better than the 1st three...hopefully they work something out because spiderman deserves a good showing, its the best comic so they should make great movies. we need venom and it should be right this time

  • kim | July 20, 2012 1:46 PMReply

    Amazing Spider Man supervsing art director accused of sexually assuallting an award wiining transgender woman singer , then libeling her and attempting to cross sue her in court for "extortion" (a cause of action that was thrown out of court), rather than admitting guilt following his criminal investigation in Orange County, California .

  • Mike | July 19, 2012 3:21 PMReply

    Incomprensible? Only if you watch the trailers & the movie back to back (a few dangled lines, though played up in the teaser and theatrical trailer not being there doesn't kill the film), what's on screen flows fine & the biggest boon the movie has (other than a screenplay that actually gets the character) comes from Webb's abilities to depict relationships. He has his big budget experience now, it'd be a mistake to replace him. Plus, it came out and was very well received, a good portion of the rumors were probably bunk.

  • Christian | July 19, 2012 11:55 AMReply

    He's definitely not returning now. Who the heck could replace him? Andrew Garfield, call David Fincher now!

  • mpbstereo | July 19, 2012 2:41 PM

    Too expensive, probably not up Fincher's alley anyways. The man's fresh off not one, but two literary adaptations, doubt he'd line up a comic property. But, dreams don't cost a thing...

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