By Oliver Lyttelton | www.oliverlyttelton.com July 31, 2012 at 10:21AM
It might not have lived up to the grosses of the Sam Raimi films (it lags nearly $100 million behind "Spider-Man 3" domestically, and more than the same amount behind "Spider-Man 2" internationally), but even so, Sony have to be pretty happy about "The Amazing Spider-Man." In a competitive summer, the film has taken a healthy $650 million worldwide, comfortably out-grossing fellow superhero reboots like "Batman Begins" and "X-Men: First Class." Perhaps Sony hoped for more, but it's about as healthy a relaunch of the franchise as they could have asked for, particularly given the dislike of "Spider-Man 3," and the mixed reviews of this installment.
And however ambivalent people's feelings were about the new film, you'll find few audience members unhappy with the idea of seeing Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone reprising their roles, and "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" has long been set for release in early May 2014. But what's not been clear is whether the first film's director, Marc Webb, will be along for the ride. The helmer was noncommittal during the film's press tour, telling us "It's like asking a woman who's just given birth if they want to get pregnant again. I'm still nursing the baby!" and we'd heard reports that the filming process had been difficult, with the studio apparently unhappy with the film.
Of course, making a load of cash can help heal any wounds, and the good news is that according to the LA Times, Webb does want to return for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," and Sony want him back as well. With Christopher Nolan's Batman films again as the template, the studio hope that Webb would be able "to continue to build the world," and further develop the story of Peter's parents, which was either cut out of, or simply executed in a half-assed manner, in the original. After all, a script is someway along, with "Star Trek" writers Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman rewriting James Vanderbilt's original draft, so presumably Webb's been involved in meetings along the line already.
But there is a hitch. As we previously reported, Webb signed a deal for another film with 20th Century Fox after making his debut, "(500) Days Of Summer," with the company, and while they let him out of his obligations for 'Spider-Man,' the studio could potentially keep him from signing on for the sequel. According to the Times, Fox are "less inclined to give him another [reprieve], especially now that it’s been more than three years since he made a movie for them." And given that "The Amazing Spider-Man" would need to shoot next spring or summer in order to make its release date, a Fox movie would put Webb out of the running for the sequel.
But there is a glimmer of hope there, as the paper's source says that Fox might be willing to let Webb make the superhero sequel for the revival studio, in exchange for a one-picture extension on their deal: so the studio would get two Webb-directed films, rather than one. As they say, some directors might balk about being restricted in such a way, but it seems that'll be the price he'd have to pay to return to Peter Parker & company.
It might help Webb's cause that there isn't a project ready to go: he's working on post-apocalyptic adventure "Age Of Rage" with Fox Searchlight and "Black Swan" writer Mark Heyman, but the script isn't done yet, so unless Fox want to put him on one of their own ready-to-go tentpoles ("Daredevil" does need a director fast, after all...), it'd seem mean-spirited to prevent him from doing "Spider-Man." And if they get another film from him out of the deal, even better.
It's unclear how this'll pan out, but we suspect that they'll probably find a way to make it work, so long as Webb acquiesces to the Fox deal. What it does mean is that it's likely they'd have to find a new director for a third Spider-Man, unless Sony are happy to wait for Webb, but it looks like we'll get at least one more Spider-Man adventure from the director, for now at least. "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" hits theaters on May 2nd, 2014.