Down Goes Sony's 'Spider-Man' Franchise
The Hollywood Reporter is surprise Sony bumped "The Amazing Spider-Man 3" a full two years, from 2016 to 2018, but they have to be in the minority. By charging ahead with the threequel of a dying franchise, Sony risked losing its shirt. Now it has 4 years to try and gin up interest or quietly snuff it entirely.
Sony has quietly snuffed high-profile franchises before. Ah-hem.
Sony will, however, release the "Spider-Man" spin-off "Sinister Six" in November of 2016. This is the studio's attempt to "universe" Spider-Man using the franchise's best-known villains: Electro, Doc Ock, etc. The studio probably hopes if "Sinister Six" is a smash people will want to see Spider-Man again.
My guess is that Sony's "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" actually lost money. With a production and advertising budget of $330 million and a worldwide gross of only $706 million, it is more likely than not. In general, a film has to make twice its budget to make a profit. Once you get overseas, though, especially China where a studio only recovers 25% of the gross, that formula goes out the window -- and not in a way that works to the studio's advantage. $500 million of that $700 million is overseas.
In the old days, home video sales would make up the shortfall, but these aren’t the old days. This is 2014 where not-very-good movies are geared towards teenage boys who consider movies as disposable and forgettable as an empty beer can. Why buy "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" on Bluray when-- oh, look the new "Avengers 2" teaser trailer!
How bad did "Amazing 2" perform? Domestically the sequel made $60 million less than its predecessor and a whopping $130 million less than Sam Raimi's "Spider-Man 3." Worldwide it made $50 million less than its predecessor and almost $200 million less than "Spider-Man 3."
All Hollywood's got left are teens. Everyone else has been alienated. But the only thing that draws teens are these $350 million all-in bets. When those stop paying off, the film business is no more.
Potentially being the Joel Schumacher of the "Spider-Man" franchise has to be tough on director Marc Webb, but he now has two years to try something else before "Amazing 3" goes into pre-production (if it does). The man behind "500 Days of Summer," one of the few decent indie films of the last 15 years, can surely get out from under the CGI'd bloat and dazzle us again.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC