Face it, Tiger — your franchise just hit a wall.
Sony has curtailed plans for "Spider-Man 4" and opted to reboot Peter Parker's big-screen adventures without director Sam Raimi, star Tobey Maguire or the rest of the film's cast, according to a report that first broke on Deadline Hollywood Daily earlier today. The site reported that Raimi and the studio parted ways after script disagreements proved so insurmountable that the planned summer 2012 release date was in danger.
The studio later confirmed the report in an official announcement (posted in full below) that, along with outlining plans to start over with a teenage Peter Parker, indicated that a new "Spider-Man" movie was still planned for 2012.
"Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios announced today they are moving forward with a film based on a script by James Vanderbilt that focuses on a teenager grappling with both contemporary human problems and amazing super-human crises," reported the studio. "Peter Parker is going back to high school when the next Spider-Man hits theaters in the summer of 2012."
Vanderbilt, who previously penned the screenplay for "Zodiac" and "The Rundown" (and was involved in the upcoming adaptation of "The Losers"), penned one of the original scripts for "Spider-Man 4," but was later replaced by David Lindsay-Abaire. The move was seen as a sign of dissatisfaction with Vanderbilt's script, though a later report claiming that the writer was brought on to pen "Spider-Man 5" and "Spider-Man 6" seemed to refute that assumption.
Now, with the most recent "Spider-Man 4" script scrapped and the studio looking to reboot the franchise with some version of Vanderbilt's original script, it would appear that Sony's put themselves in good shape to kick off an entirely new trilogy.
Sony has promised more updates on the "Spider-Man" movie front in the coming weeks, and with deadlines fast approaching for any film with hopes of premiering in 2012, it seems likely that news will be hitting the wire soon.
Keep it locked to Splash Page for more "Spider-Man" movie news as it develops.
Full text of the "Spider-Man" movie statement follows:
Spider-Man: Summer 2012
Culver City, CA (January 11, 2010) -- Peter Parker is going back to high school when the next Spider-Man hits theaters in the summer of 2012.
Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios announced today they are moving forward with a film based on a script by James Vanderbilt that focuses on a teenager grappling with both contemporary human problems and amazing super-human crises.
The new chapter in the Spider-Man franchise produced by Columbia, Marvel Studios and Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin, will have a new cast and filmmaking team. Spider-Man 4 was to have been released in 2011, but had not yet gone into production.
“A decade ago we set out on this journey with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire and together we made three Spider-Man films that set a new bar for the genre. When we began, no one ever imagined that we would make history at the box-office and now we have a rare opportunity to make history once again with this franchise. Peter Parker as an ordinary young adult grappling with extraordinary powers has always been the foundation that has made this character so timeless and compelling for generations of fans. We’re very excited about the creative possibilities that come from returning to Peter's roots and we look forward to working once again with Marvel Studios, Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin on this new beginning,” said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“Working on the Spider-Man movies was the experience of a lifetime for me. While we were looking forward to doing a fourth one together, the studio and Marvel have a unique opportunity to take the franchise in a new direction, and I know they will do a terrific job,” said Sam Raimi.
“We have had a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration and friendship with Sam and Tobey and they have given us their best for the better part of the last decade.This is a bittersweet moment for us because while it is hard to imagine Spider-Man in anyone else’s hands, I know that this was a day that was inevitable,” said Matt Tolmach, president of Columbia Pictures, who has served as the studio’s chief production executive since the beginning of the franchise. “Now everything begins anew, and that’s got us all tremendously excited about what comes next. Under the continuing supervision of Avi and Laura, we have a clear vision for the future of Spider-Man and can’t wait to share this exciting new direction with audiences in 2012.”
"Spider-Man will always be an important franchise for Sony Pictures and a fresh start like this is a responsibility that we all take very seriously," said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures. "We have always believed that story comes first and story guides the direction of these films. As we move onto the next chapter, we will stay true to that principle and will do so with the highest respect for the source material and the fans and moviegoers who deserve nothing but the best when it comes to bringing these stories and characters to life on the big screen."
The studio will have more news about Spider-Man in 2012 in the coming weeks as it prepares for production of the film.