There were grumblings at the end of last year that Spider-Man 4 was halting production. Then a few days ago, Sony pulled the release date for the picture, allowing Marvel to slide Thor into Spidey’s spot (ouch).  Now it is official as Sony has pulled the plug completely on Sam Raimi and Spider-Man 4.  Forget John Malkovich as the Vulture, Tobey Maguire is out, and so is director Sam Raimi.

Instead, Mike Fleming is told, the studio will focus on a Summer 2012 reboot from a script by Jamie Vanderbilt with a new director and a new cast. All this took place today at meeting on the lot today.

On the plus side, at least we don’t have to worry about Kirsten Dunst showing up.

Complete press release after the jump.

Press Release

Peter Parker is going back to high school when the next Spider-Man hits theaters in the summer of 2012. Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios announced today they are moving forward with a film based on a script by James Vanderbilt that focuses on a teenager grappling with both contemporary human problems and amazing super-human crises.

The new chapter in the Spider-Man franchise produced by Columbia, Marvel Studios and Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin, will have a new cast and filmmaking team. Spider-Man 4 was to have been released in 2011, but had not yet gone into production.

“A decade ago we set out on this journey with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire and together we made three Spider-Man films that set a new bar for the genre. When we began, no one ever imagined that we would make history at the box-office and now we have a rare opportunity to make history once again with this franchise. Peter Parker as an ordinary young adult grappling with extraordinary powers has always been the foundation that has made this character so timeless and compelling for generations of fans. We’re very excited about the creative possibilities that come from returning to Peter’s roots and we look forward to working once again with Marvel Studios, Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin on this new beginning,” said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.

“Working on the Spider-Man movies was the experience of a lifetime for me. While we were looking forward to doing a fourth one together, the studio and Marvel have a unique opportunity to take the franchise in a new direction, and I know they will do a terrific job,” said Sam Raimi.

“We have had a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration and friendship with Sam and Tobey and they have given us their best for the better part of the last decade.This is a bittersweet moment for us because while it is hard to imagine Spider-Man in anyone else’s hands, I know that this was a day that was inevitable,” said Matt Tolmach, president of Columbia Pictures, who has served as the studio’s chief production executive since the beginning of the franchise. “Now everything begins anew, and that’s got us all tremendously excited about what comes next. Under the continuing supervision of Avi and Laura, we have a clear vision for the future of Spider-Man and can’t wait to share this exciting new direction with audiences in 2012.”

“Spider-Man will always be an important franchise for Sony Pictures and a fresh start like this is a responsibility that we all take very seriously,” said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures. “We have always believed that story comes first and story guides the direction of these films and as we move onto the next chapter, we will stay true to that principle and will do so with the highest respect for the source material and the fans and moviegoers who deserve nothing but the best when it comes to bringing these stories and characters to life on the big screen.”

The studio will have more news about Spider-Man in 2012 in the coming weeks as it prepares for production of the film.

Okay, there it is. Now it is time for you to comment it out.

The Author

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher

Stephen Schleicher began his career writing for the Digital Media Online community of sites, including Digital Producer and Creative Mac covering all aspects of the digital content creation industry. He then moved on to consumer technology, and began the Coolness Roundup podcast. A writing fool, Stephen has freelanced for Sci-Fi Channel's Technology Blog, and Gizmodo. Still longing for the good ol' days, Stephen launched Major Spoilers in July 2006, because he is a glutton for punishment.

You can follow him on Twitter @MajorSpoilers and tell him your darkest secrets...

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  1. January 11, 2010 at 6:48 pm — Reply


    With many films in the genre and accessible to a significant number of studios due to the massification of technology, I believe that a more consistant bet on a good screenplay is one of the important keys for success.


    • January 11, 2010 at 6:50 pm — Reply

      I would tend to agree with you, but in this case a reboot is the last thing the franchise needs. For better or worse, the Spider-Man franchise is embedded in the youth of today, and doing a reboot will only serve to cause confusion. At least Warner Bros. had the good sense to wait a decade before they rebooted Batman.

      • Gaumer
        January 11, 2010 at 7:13 pm — Reply

        Granted, and I agree to a point, but I would have loved the reboot a few-five years before we got it and skipped some of the later ‘first-run’ Batman flicks.

        Maybe doing this avoids making poor movies for the sake of making them and gets the character back to his roots.

        Personally, I’m excited about a Spidey for the first time since the first one.

  2. J Michael T
    January 11, 2010 at 7:16 pm — Reply

    It’s possible that Tobey mcGuire made a deal with Mephisto and …

    • Downbylaw
      January 12, 2010 at 6:40 am — Reply

      I thought I was on reddit for a moment and was looking to upvote you…nonetheless…well played…well played indeed.

  3. Aubreii
    January 11, 2010 at 7:27 pm — Reply

    Reboot = crapsicles.
    I was looking forward to it. I know the films had there bad points, but I for one loved them. Tobey was awesome and casting in general was awesome. Alfred Molina and Wilhem Defoe were awesome.

    I wish sony were out of the picture and Marvel had spidey in their own hands with Raimi et al on board.

    Honestly? I’m a little gutted. And Screw the Warcraft movie.

  4. Morpheus
    January 11, 2010 at 7:31 pm — Reply

    I don’t like the idea of a reboot. I am tired of hearing the same story told over and over. How many times can we tell the origin of spider-man?

  5. Dave
    January 11, 2010 at 7:32 pm — Reply

    A reboot of the movie franchise already? My son just turned 10, fer Pete’s sake.

    • Jacin B
      January 12, 2010 at 11:00 am — Reply

      Time to reboot him.

  6. arcee
    January 11, 2010 at 7:36 pm — Reply

    IMHO the consistently best Spider-Man version since Raimi’s first and second movie has been The Spectacular Spider-Man cartoon.

    Sony, on the off chance you read this – call those writers and get them onboard. You want a version of Spidey that will almost guarantee a successful franchise?

    They’re the guys that’ll fill theaters.

    • January 11, 2010 at 8:28 pm — Reply

      AMEN. That show is the best thing the spider-man franchise has gotten since the earlier years of ultimate spider-man.

      If it doesn’t get a season 3 green light, it would be quite the Television disappointment.

    • January 12, 2010 at 1:59 am — Reply

      Amen, that show is pretty darn good. I first watched it with trepidation, but it surprised me and is good.

  7. eric
    January 11, 2010 at 7:48 pm — Reply

    I only see mass confusion when this hits. People are going to ask what happened? What I want to know is who is asking for more money? I think this is the real issue. It is cheaper to pay Tobey and Kirsten their money and let them walk away than to continue a franchise having to negotiate a new contract for every movie. It is less expensive for the studio to hire an unknown and lock them into an awfully low paying contract for a certain amount of movies than to continue to pay out the nose. I know they are praying this works. I dont blame Tobey or Kirsten for trying to get more money or Sam either. On the other hand the first two movies were so great and the acting is so great who is going to replace them? It may be engrained that those are the characters and the public may decide to say screw it. Sure you will have a big weekend, but I truely think Sony is going to be disappointed. Disney better ante up the money and buy back the rights as soon as it can.

  8. January 11, 2010 at 7:54 pm — Reply

    Geez! Why does it have to be a ‘reboot’ can’t it just be one of Spider Man’s many adventures. Don’t call it Spider Man 4. Call Spider Man: Interesting Subtitle, kind of like Indiana Jones. Don’t get hung up on the continuity, f*** multi-movie story arcs and give us a kick-ass action movie with a little Peter Parker life drama thrown in. Everybody who cares knows the origin by now, so just hit the ground running and give some awesome super-hero effects. Hell give us the Sinister Six hitting NYC all in one day (maybe in a concerted effort to pull off some bigger caper) with wall to wall fights, and I’d watch it.

  9. Ricco
    January 11, 2010 at 8:15 pm — Reply

    Really? This early? And when that fails will they reboot it again? Either continue the series or drop it, reboots are good for “dead” series, Spiderman’s corpse isn’t even cold yet…

  10. hunterdan
    January 11, 2010 at 8:17 pm — Reply

    I’m for it if this gets rid of Dunst as Mary-Jane. To this geek, she a)wasn’t good looking enough b)wasn’t fiesty enough.
    I’m aware that when adapting you have to make changes, but when it came to her portrayl of MJ, I was wanting Gwen Stacy or Black Cat to show up.
    However, too soon for a reboot. Granted that Spider-man 3 was dreadful but no-need to go-over old ground with a reboot. I’m with Bruce on this.

  11. matthew
    January 11, 2010 at 8:23 pm — Reply

    i like it. 1 was ok, 2 was better. 3 was horrible.

  12. MaximusRift
    January 11, 2010 at 10:28 pm — Reply

    Why do all have to crap on our dream? It was nice until you brought your “logic” into this. ;p

    It is really written in stone that it’s doomed to failure? Can’t you at least try to be positive? Just a little hope, please?

  13. Rodrigo
    January 11, 2010 at 10:38 pm — Reply

    I don’t think people are saying ‘the reboot is going to suck’ they’re saying, this series isn’t dead enough for a reboot.

  14. Brenton8o90
    January 11, 2010 at 11:12 pm — Reply

    From all indications, Spider-man 4 was shaping up to be a worse movie than the 3rd one. Come on guys. Vultress? Bullet dodged!
    I’m laying bets on the title being “THE AMAZING SPIDER-MAN”

    Besides, I don’t believe they have anything done on this reboot at all. They may have a spec-script, and a nominal director, but nothing and nobody is final yet. First of all, its too soon. They were actively producing Spider-Man 4 a week ago. They scrap it, but announce a reboot already?

    Here’s the scoop from a guy with sources and ears in H-wood. Remember, Sony only keeps the rights to make Spider-Man movies as long as they are in “active development” of new films. If they cease to be in “active development” the rights revert to Marvel, and new parent company Disney.

    What can we learn from this?

    For one, it means that Sony HAD to announce a reboot, regardless of whether or not they actually had a movie to ANNOUNCE or they would lose the franchise, as well as millions of dollars.

    Two: Marvel and Disney will probably take this opening to fight for the rights back ANYWAY. Wouldn’t you?

    Three: Sony would not have done this lightly. To make a decision like this, announcing a new rebooted franchise with no lead-time, no prep-work, no plan at all, and risk losing control of one of the most valuable franchises ever, Spider-Man 4 had to have been so AWFUL and riddled with PROBLEMS that they couldn’t fix that if they hadn’t, they would have lost money in the box-office (tough to do, even with a BAD Spidey film) or killed the franchise completely, and lost it anyway. Remember, if they wait for it to be completely dead, they lose the rights. This will give them the shot at a couple more sequels, cause lets face it, there wasn’t going to be a spidey 5 or 6.

    All in all, the reboot will be better than Spidey 4 ever would have been. I hated Kirsten Dunst, Tobey never did it for me, and Raimi was losing his mind and didn’t know what to do. Believe no details about this reboot and plot yet… none of it will end up in the final product. I guarantee it.

    And that’s Brent’s film facts.

    • Brent
      January 13, 2010 at 12:32 pm — Reply

      Ditto from another Brent. Tobey was slightly off as an older Peter Parker (great in the first movie during the High School scenes, though).

      And when they cast Kisrsten Dunst, they could not have gone further away from the classic “Face it Tiger, you hit the jackpot” Mary Jane.

  15. Brenton8o90
    January 11, 2010 at 11:13 pm — Reply


  16. January 11, 2010 at 11:23 pm — Reply

    BOOO!!! Not even 4 years since the last installment and they’re going to do a reboot? Poo-doo! This is the exact opposite of “story guiding creative direction”. They’re re-hashing the same story they already told just to make money off of the great work that Raimi already did. If they really were keeping true to the movie series, they’d keep it on hold until they could do it right. But, at least it won’t be an X-men: The Last Stand. If they’re going to flush the franchise down the toilet to scrape up a few extra bucks, at least they won’t ruin the current story continuation and I can leave it with the “happily ever after” cliffhanger that Spidey3 gave us.


  17. Aubreii
    January 11, 2010 at 11:39 pm — Reply

    I agree with Rodrigo, every series of movies has a weak link. Spider-man 3 was the weak link. It had some great aspects, Venom although weak as a character was actually great looking and the effects around sandman were great, the characterisation just didnt seem to be there. Brock seemed to hate Peter pretty quickly. Shoot me for saying it but I thought the daft dance scene added to the film and didn’t detract it was typical geeky Parker and I loved it. Sam Raimi makes great Spidey films and I do not envy the next guy his task.

    What I would have liked to have seen was Marvel get their hands on the rights exclusively and then see what the team could do. Tobey Maguire is still the best Parker for my money.

    At the end of the day, we’ll moan, but we’ll all go see it!

  18. Aubreii
    January 11, 2010 at 11:41 pm — Reply

    Just one more thing, Spidey is why I like comics. Spidey and the X-Men, so while I and many other people are happy to complain about choices made in the production of the movies I’m still completely made up to see them on screen at all.

    And yes I liked Wolverine!

  19. eric
    January 11, 2010 at 11:49 pm — Reply

    I liked the Wolverine movie also. This just shows how greedy Sony is and how out of touch they are to the comic book genre itself. I hope it does fail, so Marvel / Disney can be one step closer to buying back the rights to something they never should have sold anyway. I understand needing some funds, but what bad contracts to not be able to control the way a movie is made in very limited aspects and now this. It makes it look like a joke and it makes movie goers look like brainless nitwits giving Sony the idea that oh let’s make it they will come any way. Well, I wont be going to see it. I wont be seeing the second Star Trek movie, and the last Spiderman movie left a bad taste in my mouth. So I will save my ten bucks per pop.

  20. Kirtley
    January 12, 2010 at 12:44 am — Reply

    I’m not a big fan of Rebooting a franchise that either a) wasn’t horribly done (e.g. FF, Hulk, Daredevil) or b) a decade old or more, and I guess c) the entire main cast dies mysteriously. I won’t bash the new one, I’m a comic book and comic movie fan, so I will see what is brought out and can only hope for the best. I love the originals and there were some really moving and kick-ass moments in the originals, but the studio has a chance to hopefully find a great young cast and really show his younger days. The first movie had him out of high school within the first 15 minutes of the movie and there could be a lot going on at that age and barely being a person in his own right and add powers on top of that. Tobey was a very wooden and somewhat hardly believable actor for the role, Kirsten wasn’t up to par either. I liked Alfred Molina and Willem Dafoe, although they’ve been drawing Norman Osborn a lot like Tommy Lee Jones lately, so who knows there. I’ll just be excited to see some new Spidey action, just please don’t give us the same villains and just be a big ol’ re-hash of the old ones with new Twilightesque characters. Maybe they’ll have Edward Cullen pop in as Morbius, they would probably shatter all box office records with the tween girls if they did that.

  21. January 12, 2010 at 2:06 am — Reply

    I’d actually like to see the rights go to Marvel, and let them decide what to do with it, even though i love what Rami has done. Give it to them and let cameos happen, and get over the multi-villian+Love interest crap that keeps happening in superhero movies. Heck, you could do what Brave and the Bold does and have a short beginning villain conflict and a more serious one not long after.

  22. January 12, 2010 at 2:47 am — Reply

    On some level a reboot is nice, the first film kinda glossed over the highschool stuff which contributed to it’s inadequacies and the subsequent films haven’t been brilliant (2 is the highlight of the series by far and I’d not go as far to say that that is a great film, it just happens to have been saved by having a decent villain portrayed and written reasonably well (at least by the standards of the spiderman films) which filled the screen and the movie with a tad more awesome/good). The film series went off the rails, it wasn’t on any rails I liked to begin with anyway seemingly I’d have made different choices so resetting it is a good thing.

    That said Batman got batman forever or batman and robin (I forget which is the last un) to be the final nail in the coffin, Spiderman should’ve got spiderman 4 for a swansong and then not look at releasing a reboot until at least 2017 to my eyes. That said when does Sony lose the rights to Spiderman if they stop using him? Probably a factor in rushing things, but it could confuse the audience. My only regret was not writing that script for my version of spiderman three and showing it to someone with power before that mess happened I could’ve saved everything with my “Harry Osborn forms a sinister six led by himself the hobgoblin to battle spiderman and destroy him” premise when they announced they wanted Venom I even reckoned on having the symbiont be what saved Spiderman and then we could run into number 4 with him rejecting the blacksuit and venom being made and all that gorgeous detail. Oh well Shoulda Coulda Woulda means I’m out of time, should woulda coulda can’t change Sony’s mind (or the past)

  23. Seneca
    January 12, 2010 at 5:33 am — Reply

    Wow and I thought I was the only one who thought Kirsten Dunst made the worlds worst MJ! :)

  24. Scott C
    January 12, 2010 at 7:51 am — Reply

    Maybe I’m crazy but…….I’m looking forward to this!

    As said they glossed right over the high school years which is one of the best parts of Spidey. Kirsten Dunst and honestly all of the women of Spiderman have not been physically or acting wise the level they should to be MJ or Gwen Stacy. Sorry but one of the greatest geek parts for us all is that Peter Parker is not good looking but his ladies are model hot! While I love Tobey Maguire’s acting it will be interesting to see a spiderman who isn’t always crying! To quote the great Tom Hanks “There’s no crying in spiderman!” “There’s no crying!”

    While I am interested in a new version of spiderman I hope we can skip the mandatory “origin” story. Somebody mentioned a Brave and the Bold style movie with a quick villain beat down then on to the main story. This in my mind works very well!

    Think about it opening scene “People waiting on line at a bank when BOOM!! It’s (insert villain here) robbing the bank only for Peter Parker and Aunt May going for the 5th mortgage on their house (does this woman expect to live forever?) to be there and spidey swings in to save the day! One quick fight and funny quips later out rolls the Marvel Logo and on with the credits!! Quick cartoony or whatever style they feel shows the spidey origin and we get on with the movie! How does that sound?

    People said Batman Begins was a bad idea but put together a great director and actor and it works really well. I think Spiderman can totally take this and run with it.

  25. Erik
    January 12, 2010 at 8:21 am — Reply

    I am kind of mixed on this. I was excited to read about Malkovitch yesterday but I am equally excited to think of Spidey going back to the high school years which is much more the era I was into years ago. My hope is that some suit is throwing around the “reboot” term but not really meaning a full reboot. As someone said, if they just named the next film “The Spectacular Spider-Man” and had it set in an earlier time-line, that would be awesome. I don’t see any reason to re-tell the origin story as we just did that a few years ago.

    And no Dunst is a definite positive. I just don’t remember MJ being so mopey in the comics.

  26. Beav
    January 12, 2010 at 9:29 am — Reply

    Big mistake. Why cant Sony trust Sam Raimi to do what he feels best?! Spider-man 2 was one of those rare sequels that was superior to the first thanks to Raimi! Studio interference forced Raimi to include Venom in Spider-man 3 and it completley ruined the film. ( The Brock Venom is one of my favourite COMIC BOOK villains and could have been amazing if handled right ) John Malkovich as the vulture?!..I cant think of better casting and as far as the vulture not being an interesting character…look at other versions such as the spidey 2099 or spider noir vultures. the vulture could be one of the great movie villains! A spidey remake when the original is still fresh and groundbreaking is a massive mistake!!!

  27. January 12, 2010 at 10:29 am — Reply

    Raimi and Maguire out? Sony’s hitting the reset button on the franchise and starting over? Doesn’t sound good.
    Of course, there may be an opportunity to get the thing just right – make it feel like those Steve Ditko originals. A nebbishy kid in a homemade costume, but I have a feeling Sony may make it into a CGI overkil…l like a lot of modern movies. Too many villains. Too much of everything.
    …and are they going to retell the origin?

  28. Jacin B
    January 12, 2010 at 11:05 am — Reply

    “A decade ago we set out on this journey with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire and together we made three Spider-Man films that set a new bar for the genre.”

    No. Not really. They made one movie that was pretty good (Spider-Man), one movie that was really good (Spider-Man 2) and then followed it up with disappointing garbage (Spider-Man 3).

    Spider-Man changed what we should expect of comic book movies. Spider-Man 3 failed to live up to the standard its own franchise helped set.

  29. Obsidian
    January 12, 2010 at 12:32 pm — Reply

    I have to say that if “confusing the audience” is anyone’s primary concern with why a reboot shouldn’t be done, then you’re missing the point of acting and movies in general. I have little faith in the general movie-going population considering what ends up on the silver screen but I don’t think that people will be confused by having a different actor portraying a comic book characters that is routinely drawn (and portrayed) differently by different creative teams. Maybe looking at this as a reboot is the problem. Try thinking of it as having a new creative team working on the film and perhaps people will feel better.

    As it stands, we’re at the beginning stages so all we can do is speculate. Someone above mentioned that they thought that the “hurry up play” was due to the contractual structure surrounding Spider-Man films. That might be on the money. It sounds like a reasonable cause to me.

    At the end of the day, what matters to me is being provided with a SOLID movie that doesn’t bypass story and plot for visual distractions. Let’s just hope that Sony’s choice allows that to happen.

  30. Obsidian
    January 12, 2010 at 12:35 pm — Reply

    Oh, and something tells me that “reboot” doesn’t have to equate with “origin” story. I expect Sony is smart enough to know that enough people know his origins and that there’s more than one way to include exposition for the sake of those who don’t know.

  31. Jim
    January 12, 2010 at 8:01 pm — Reply

    I don’t want to see a bad Spidey movie. That goes for whether it’s SM 4 of the reboot (I can’t stand this term). I hope Sony doesn’t try to rebrand SM. Remember how much of a big deal it was that they used the original costume for the first one? That wasn’t necessarily a given. So I hope Sony doesn’t try to make Spidey into a trendy tween flick with some awful studio-designed costume. Please, not an origin story. The Hulk reboot wasn’t an origin so maybe we’re safe there. Really, I’m kinda disappointed b/c I think Raimi knew SM 3 could’ve been better and was trying to make 4 really good (although the Vulture wasn’t a great start). The only way I’d actually be excited about this was if the rights were going back to Marvel and we could see Spidey in the Marvel U. Oh well….

  32. Carl
    January 13, 2010 at 12:28 pm — Reply

    I can’t wait to see ItsSomeRandomGuy’s take on this.

  33. Kirtley
    January 23, 2010 at 12:23 am — Reply

    When mentally casting the Vulture in my head John Malkovich wasn’t exactly who I’d have cast, he’s a terrific actor don’t get me wrong, I just always thought that Ben Kingsley would have played a great either Vulture for Spidey or Hugo Strange for Batman. Either way, there was still the potential for the Lizard, since his original pre-lizard form had been in the prior movies, Kraven would’ve been good, Bruce Campbell as Mysterio would have been awesome and either Morbius or Electro. There are quite a few good villains to mine from, so they shouldn’t be stuck throwing crappy villains at him, if they can’t write someone well then skip them and let someone else make that movie. I do feel it’s a little early to reboot, but unlike the person who said to wait until 2017, I’ll take a comic book movie anyday so I don’t want to wait that long. Just like for Toy Story, I’ll wait a long time for a great movie, so please at least take enough time for a solid story and non-Twilightesque acting.

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