Plenty of names had been considered to direct the movie that eventually became Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man, with James Cameron developing the project in the 1990s before a variety of other filmmakers were contacted about the position, including very surprising candidate David Fincher.
In the end, Raimi’s lifelong love of the character and his unique visual sensibilities ended up landing him the gig, but not before it had been turned down by Chris Columbus. It must have been a flattering situation for the Home Alone and Mrs. Doubtfire director to find himself in at the turn of the millennium, when he had offers on the table to take the reins of two massive properties with multi-billion dollar franchise potential.
In a new interview with ScreenRant, Columbus explains why he doesn’t regret turning down Spider-Man in favor of Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone.
“Yeah… I probably heard the day before I got the Spider-Man offer that I got Harry Potter. And whoever it was, was like, ‘Is he crazy? How could he pass up Spider-Man?’, and part of me felt that way, because it’s probably something I was waiting my entire life to do. But I’m glad I decided to go with Potter. I’m happy about that.
Columbus launched what soon became the highest-grossing film series in history, while Raimi’s Spider-Man went on to deliver an origin story that helped cement the comic book genre as Hollywood’s most lucrative new enterprise, so it ended up working out very well for the pair of them in the long run, even if the first two Potters are largely viewed as the weakest of the original octet.