Yesterday, Hollywood was rocked by the not entirely unexpected news that Amy Pascal was stepping down from her role as co-chairman of Sony to launch her own production company with the studio. The big question may be what will happen with ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ franchise when Pascal officially leaves her gig in May.
As everyone knows by now, the series is in serious flux. “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was the lowest grossing entry in the franchise’s history, which is not a good look for a building block to a third movie and spinoffs. Last summer, Sony announced it would push back “The Amazing Spider-Man 3” to 2018, and would prepare the villain-centric spin-off “Sinister Six” for a November 11, 2016 release. These were all decisions made on Pascal’s watch, but one can only imagine with her foot halfway out the door, there may be some other executives with different ideas as such.
Indeed, there was been much rumor mongering about Sony and Marvel possibly working out a deal for Spider-Man to step into the Marvel-verse, but nothing has been worked out, despite meetings between the two companies. Certainly, giving Marvel access to Spider-Man would bring legitimacy back to the character, but it might not be wise for Sony to cede creative control to a rival, particularly if that rival does a better job with the character.
Moreover, there is also a “Venom” project brewing at the studio in addition to “The Amazing Spider-Man 4,” but unlike their competitors at Marvel and Warner Bros., it seems that none of the sequels or spin-offs are being guided with a firm vision. So should Sony finish what Pascal started with the series, or use this opportunity to shake things up and hopefully get Spider-Man back on track? The next few months, and in particular Comic-Con in July, will be very interesting.
What do you think they should do? Is Andrew Garfield still the right man to sling webs? Is it time to move from director Marc Webb? Maybe David Koepp‘s idea of a cheaper, grittier, (not quite) R-rated take on Peter Parker is the way to go. And while the possibilities seem endless, you also have to remember Sony can’t necessarily afford to delay ‘Spider-Man’ for a significant amount of time either —the property may be underperforming, but it’s still a big money earner nonetheless.
As Variety notes, sequels to “The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo” and “Salt” both seem even more unlikely to happen with Pascal’s departure, but let’s face it, “The Amazing Spider-Man” is the property that’s her most valuable legacy. What should Sony do next?