There were days when a $700 million take at the global box office was deemed a tremendous success… but we apparently no longer live in that world. At least, that’s how things feel for Sony executives, who are a bit shaken up about The Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s performance at the multiplex earlier this year. Not only is it the lowest-grossing Spidey film to date, but it’s also the most critically derided. It currently sits at an unimpressive 53% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, a whole 10% lower than the near-universally hated Spider-Man 3.
Yes, $700 million is nothing to shake a stick at, and it’s certainly not a number that suggests that TASM 2 was a flop. However, it’s a lot less than the studio wanted (and could have made) from Spider-Man, and it doesn’t bode well for their long-term cinematic universe plans.
Those plans include not only two more Amazing Spider-Man sequels, but villain-centric spin-off films as well, focusing on The Sinister Six and Venom. With audiences slowly losing interest in the wall-crawler’s big screen adventures, could those plans change?
According to Roberto Orci, that just may be the case. Orci helped write TASM 2, and though he isn’t helming any of the upcoming installments (unlike his longtime producing partner, Alex Kurtzman, who’s writing and directing Venom), he was part of the Sony brain trust that was meant to help formulate a cohesive plan for the Spidey film universe. I say “was” because, as Orci states in an interview with IGN, he’s no longer part of the team.
When asked specifically about The Amazing Spider-Man 3, Orci said he’s “not officially involved in it,” and isn’t even sure about what Sony means to do with the franchise after TASM 2:
“I don’t know what their plans are for that franchise. I don’t ever want to say never, but we have to figure out what their scheduling is in terms of when they want each movie. I’ve read probably as much as anyone else.
There’s a love for the Sinister Six, the idea of Venom — there’s an idea of Spider-Man’s going to be one of these characters that’s part of our business. He’s such a popular character. Spider-Man’s not going to go away any time soon. When it all happens and how and all that has yet to be determined.”
Up until this point, we assumed that TASM 3 would arrive next, followed by either Venom or Sinister Six. Now, that order could be shifting, or changing completely, depending on what the studio decides is best for the property. There’s little to no chance they’ll abandon their plans altogether (even if just to keep Spider-Man out of Marvel Studios’ hands), so eventually we’ll hear about what the next phase of their plan is.
Honestly, I’m glad that Sony is taking a bit more time to re-evaluate their Spider-Man intentions. I wasn’t one of the people who hated TASM 2, but that film definitely has its problems, and many of them stem from studio interference and the desire to shoehorn in Sinister Six elements. Rather than rush into the next film, it would be wise for the studio to examine their priorities and focus on quality instead of quantity.