Spiderman Gets Downsized
Even superheroes, and the stars who play them, are feeling blow back from the sluggish economy. Although the Spiderman franchise has made a whopping $2.5 billion so far, Sony Pictures wasn't willing to pony up the $300 million director Sam Raimi felt necessary to do the fourth installation justice. So Raimi left the web, taking Toby Maguire along with him. Kirsten Dunst, who plays Spidey's girlfriend Mary Jane, broke up with the project as well.
Last week, Sony announced that Spiderman 4 would be postponed because of problems with the script. Later, director Raimi revealed that a major problem was the fact that he wasn't comfortable with the current script--and the $230 million dollar budget was not enough to fix it, or to fund the special effects and big battle scenes he had in mind. So the director opted to take his chair and go home, as did Maguire and Dunst.
Now the studio is scrambling to replace the actors and director with more cost-effective employees. Sony planned to release Raimi's version in May 2011, but, since they're basically starting from scratch, the film's release has been pushed back to 2012, while they hunt for a new script, actors and director.
It isn't the first time a super hero has changed identities mid-franchise. Batman has gone through a long line of caped crusaders, and James Bond, although not a superhero, seems to change identities as often as he changes tuxedos. But not even the Shadow knows if fans will be able to accept any other actor in the beloved red and blue Spiderman pajamas.