There’s no mistaking that the Spider-Man franchise is one of the big moneymakers for studio Sony. 2012’s reboot film, The Amazing Spider-Man, pulled in three-quarters of a billion dollars and prompted the studio to schedule not one but three sequels, the first of which opens this coming May with the other two coming every other year to 2018. But the studio’s plans to expand the Spider-Man franchise to a film-a-year schedule with solo movies featuring some of the villains from the comic book source material is a rather risky proposition according to some Hollywood analysts.
In a Variety report that looks at the studio’s long-term prospects and its need for more tentpole franchises, they quote media analyst Harold Vogel in saying that “I think there’s been too much of a reliance on ‘Spider-Man.'”
Can’t say that I disagree with him.
Last December, Sony president Amy Pascal announced the plan to expand their slate of Spider-Man films with Drew Goddard writing and possibly directing a film featuring the villainous group The Sinister Six while writers Alex Kurtzman, Bob Orci and Ed Solomon would tackle a movie featuring fan-favorite Venom. I am a fan of Goddard’s work, so I am interested in seeing how he crafts a film around a group of supervillains without having a superhero around to knock them down. Venom, I am less interested in, but that has always been a character I have never had much of an interest in.
I think Sony’s big mistake here is looking at what Marvel Studios has done with their superhero franchises and wants to have an Avengers-sized hit as well. But Marvel has something on their side that Sony doesn’t – diversity. The Marvel stable of characters is varied, ranging from genius industrialists like Iron Man to Norse gods like Thor to man-out-of-their-own-time, super soldiers like Captain America. But all Sony has the rights to are the various characters related to the Spider-Man comics. And taking Spider-Man out of the equation raises the question that if they say that the measure of a movie hero is often gauged by the villain he faces, but how interesting is a movie villain if he has no hero to face off against?
And even if the studio manages to come up with some Spider-spinoff films that work, will audiences care or will they quickly grow tired of being inundated with a Spider-man related film every summer? And that’s a question that a lot of analysts and investors are asking right now.