This summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was considered by many a disappointment. The film got some rather blistering reviews, receiving about a 53% on Rotten Tomatoes and the film underperformed at the box office, leaving the studio to reevaluate their plans for the franchise.
So after the relatively liked and successful franchise reboot from 2012, what happened to make things go sour so fast? The film’s star, Andrew Garfield, has an idea and speaking with The Daily Beast, he lets loose.
It’s interesting. I read a lot of the reactions from people and I had to stop because I could feel I was getting away from how I actually felt about it. For me, I read the script that Alex [Kurtzman] and Bob [Orci] wrote, and I genuinely loved it. There was this thread running through it.
I think what happened was, through the pre-production, production, and post-production, when you have something that works as a whole, and then you start removing portions of it—because there was even more of it than was in the final cut, and everything was related. Once you start removing things and saying, “No, that doesn’t work,” then the thread is broken, and it’s hard to go with the flow of the story. Certain people at the studio had problems with certain parts of it, and ultimately the studio is the final say in those movies because they’re the tentpoles, so you have to answer to those people.
I can’t say that I am surprised that the Spider-franchise has once again been undermined by the executives at the studio, as they seem to have a history of such behavior. Following the success of 2004’s Spider-Man 2, franchise maestro Sam Raimi was forced to add in the fan popular villain Venom into his third installment. Raimi resisted, as he wasn’t as familiar with the newer character as he was with the old school Spidey bad guys he grew up reading. The studio prevailed and the result was a film that felt overcrowded and off-balance in terms of the story Raimi was trying to tell. Relations didn’t improve between Raimi and the studio when it came time for the director to negotiate his contract for a fourth film, ultimately culminating with the studio making demands in terms of a planned release date that they knew Raimi would not be able to meet, resulting in the director walking away. Once Raimi was gone and the studio could bring in a new (and cheaper) director, their strict release date evaporated.
Now I know that films like a Spider-Man film are expensive investments for a studio to make, and executives do have a responsibility to make sure that the best possible film is made with the hundreds of millions of dollars that they are spending. But at some point Sony execs are just going to have to learn that what abilities they have in the business part of show business is harming the show part.