More than ever, blockbuster filmmaking goes far beyond what happens during the shoot. Directors and actors have to spend almost as much time engaged with fans who have their own expectations, dealing with what the studio wants to see from the box office performance of the picture, continually tweaking the package for mainstream consumption, all while trying to put their stamp on the material. It’s enough to drive anyone crazy, but Sam Raimi did it three times over. Forever changing the game with his “Spider-Man” series, the director perhaps faced the most vitriol from fans for his overstuffed “Spider-Man 3,” which was also the film that faced the most studio interference. Eight years on, Sony has already rebooted Spider-Man, and will now team with Marvel to reboot the character again, but Topher Grace, who played Venom, defends Raimi’s final effort from the haters.
“I know the movie did well for Sony, but I also know a lot of people weren’t happy with it. I think Sam is so talented. I remember one time I was on ninth unit. (Laughs.) Ninth unit? It’s like he’s running a small country. This summer, there was a movie like that where people are just slamming a big studio movie,” he told THR, referring pretty plainly to Josh Trank‘s “Fantastic Four.”
“I would love to see anyone who’s slamming one of those movies try to fit in Sam Raimi’s position. He was like the president of a small country — by the way, it had the gross national income of a small country, too. I have huge respect for him. I think, on a whole, he did such a fantastic job [on that trilogy].”
And Grace isn’t incorrect. “Spider-Man 3” still has the highest, unadjusted gross of any webslinging movie to date (it pulled $890 million worldwide). However, financial success doesn’t equal creative success, but certainly, the point is taken that making a superhero flick requires as much management skill as it does directorial prowess.
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