If you had any doubt that Sony squeezed Sam Raimi out of the Spider-Man franchise that the director launched for the studio, you need only look at the paycheck that newly cast Andrew Garfield will be getting and compare it to the what Raimi’s star Toby Maguire was pulling down for playing the role of Peter Parker.
Deadline has reported that Garfield is getting just $500,000 for his services on the first film. He is optioned for two sequels, for which he’d receive a paybump up to $1 million for the first and $2 million for the second.
Now compare that to the $4 million that Maguire received for the first film, the reported $17.5 million and 5% of the back-end he made for the second and the $15 million plus 7.5% percent of the back-end that he got for the third film. You can see why Sony feels that they’ve got a better deal, only shelling out $3.5 million to Garfield for his services for three films as opposed to making Spider-Man 4 with Maguire’s reported $20 million dollar offer. Of course, option deals don’t hold a lot of weight and Garfield could renegotiate if he gets a bit more leverage by the time a second film comes around.
Sure it’s a canny move on Sony’s part to keep down talent costs – You don’t think that incoming director Marc Webb is getting paid anywhere near Raimi’s level, now do you? – and to keep a bigger chunk of profits. Sony is working hard to maximize their profits on the franchise. The first installment came in with a price tag of about $140 million, the studio hopes to have this new installment delivered for only $80 million.
Will a recast Spider-Man film appeal to moviegoers? Sure, the James Bond franchise has weathered numerous cast changes over the decades it has been running. But I’ve talked to many people who don’t normally follow such things as casting news who have expressed their disappointment that Maguire won’t be back in the lead, some of them stating that they won’t go see this new Spider-Man film because of that.
While I doubt that will affect the film’s bottom line all that much, I think that the bigger concern here is Sony’s bet that they’ll capture the same lightening in a bottle that Raimi, Maguire and the rest of the creative cast and crew of the previous Spider-Man trilogy of films did.