Spider-Man caught in recession's tangled web: Is he now a failed product?

When most people hear that someone is planning a Broadway musical version of the Spider-Man franchise, the reaction is usually the same: "They're what?"

Well, that's what we thought about The Lion King, too, and sure enough, that stage version turned into one of the biggest smashes of our generation. Bearing that in mind, and bearing in mind that The Lion King's visual genius, Julie Taymor (also of the movies Across the Universe and Frida), had agreed to design and stage an eye-popping live version of the Webslinger, theater insiders knew that the prospect was intriguing.

Then it was announced that U2's Bono and The Edge would be doing the music for the show, Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark. And in June, when stars Alan Cumming and Evan Rachel Wood were announced as attached, the concept seemed exciting to non-Broadway types, too.