“Where there’s smoke there’s fire.” I kinda hate that phrase because it always lends credence to every damn rumor out there (the recent Gus Van Sant/”Death Note” rumor of late is false and premature, for example). But maybe it applies here. A few weeks ago it was reported that “The Amazing Spider-Man 3” was going to lose its 2016 date and it may be delayed.
Well, it turns out this rumor is entirely possible. The ever-candid Roberto Orci, screenwriter behind the new “Star Trek” franchise, some of the earlier “Transformers” films and of course the rebooted “Amazing Spider-Man” series has revealed in an interview that he has officially left the Sony-produced super hero franchise. “I’m not officially involved in it," Orci told IGN of the upcoming “Spider-Man 3” film.
"I don't know what their plans are for that franchise,” he continued. “I don't ever want to say never, but we have to figure out what their scheduling is in terms of when they want each movie. I've read probably as much as anyone else. There's a love for ‘The Sinister Six,’ the idea of ‘Venom’ -- there's an idea of Spider-Man's going to be one of these characters that's part of our business. He's such a popular character. Spider-Man's not going to go away any time soon. When it all happens and how and all that has yet to be determined. I don't want to say anything about what they should do. I don't want them to think I'm spilling the beans about something."
That certainly sounds tenuous and doesn’t sound like the plan of the studio that was once certain they were releasing their ‘Spider-Man 3’ film in 2016 with the “Sinister Six” and “Venom” films to follow. Then again, if Orci’s not officially involved anymore, perhaps he’s out of the loop. But it does ring true with the original delay rumor that suggested Sony didn’t know what to do with the series – “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was the lowest grossing film in the series abroad and at home including every film that Sam Raimi directed (minus inflation and 3D surcharges of course) – and maybe had to rethink the entire direction (since it doesn’t seem to be working in the $1 billion dollar gross range they were hoping for).
Now perhaps this isn’t an entire surprise. Orci and longtime writing partner Alex Kurtzman (who is set to direct and write the “Venom” movie) amicably split earlier this year. Plus, Orci’s got a “Star Trek 3” movie to think about which he will direct and co-write for 2016.
But Orci’s being really cautious. In a separate interview with Collider, the writer/producer/ soon-to-be director said “Star Trek 3” isn’t real until it’s been greenlit by Paramount and that hasn’t happened. “Well, I don’t want to count my chickens before they hatch. The studio has yet to even read the script,” he told them. “I’m in the middle of writing it, with the talented team of [John D.] Payne and [Patrick] McKay. They are true Star Trek fans, as well. So, I can’t even think anything about the future until I give them a script and they greenlight it. Until that happens, everything else is just a rumor.”
“If I’m lucky enough that Paramount loves the script and that we go forward,” he added. “It’ll be because I have loved Star Trek for so long and the idea of having seen one of the best guys in the business direct two of them already, and to have seen it from the vantage point of a producer too, I know where a lot of the challenges are and where a lot of the fun is.”
That’s a cute thought and all, but Paramount would really have to hate Orci’s script to not go forward with this film (I mean, they greenlight “Into Darkness,” no?). Considering they’ve already tentatively slotted in “Star Trek 3” for a 2016 release date, the studio isn’t going to want to delay their flagship property any further. Yes, anything’s possible and they could delay it if the script is terrible and the studio doesn’t think they’re ready (for example rumors of “Star Wars: Episode VII” being pushed to 2016 keep getting louder and louder). But this is the same studio that read the much-maligned “Transformers: Revenge Of The Fallen” and said (yes, during a writing strike), “ok, well, it’s gotta run on this date, so it’s good enough, the kids will eat it up anyhow,” and they were right.
Recap: “Amazing Spider-Man 3,” delayed and in limbo? Hard to say, but it doesn’t sound very good and considering the evidence of the very weak box-office, it doesn’t take a dummy to figure out that Sony’s been in post-mortem mode and trying to figure out what went wrong and how they can “fix” their big super hero property going forward. “Star Trek 3”? I’d assume it’ll move forward as planned until we hear otherwise, but it will be interesting to see how a first time director with no hands-on filmmaking experience (other than producing) can handle mounting a tentpole of this scope and scale.
"The Amazing Spider-Man 3" is supposed to hit theaters on June 10th, 2016. We'll see if it still hits that date.