Sony Reveals Plans for One ‘Spider-Man’ Movie Every Year in Cementing Franchise Hold
It's a good thing people really like Spider-Man because he's the one thing Sony seems to be relying on at the multiplex. Although the studio fell on rough times these past few years, 2012's 'The Amazing Spider-Man' was a big hit and this year's 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2' looks ready to rock the box, as well. But how much Spidey will audiences tolerate before they pull a J. Jonah Jameson and declare him a menace? Well, the folks at Sony are ready to push their luck on that front with plans to release one Spider-Man movie a year for the foreseeable future.
As originally reported by Variety, Sony Pictures Entertainment Co-Chairman Amy Pascal stated their continuing plans to have their own shared cinematic universe similar to Marvel's:
We are expanding the ‘Spider-Man’ universe into ‘The Sinister Six’ and ‘Venom,’ so that we have ‘Spider-Man’ movies every year.
We already knew that 'The Amazing Spider-Man 3' and 'The Amazing Spider-Man 4' were being developed on top of the recently announced 'Venom' and 'Sinister Six' movies, but Sony's plan to fully annualize the web slinging cash cow reeks of desperation. As media analyst Harold Vogel is quoted: “It’s creative entropy, and I think there’s been too much of a reliance on ‘Spider-Man.' They need some other things to build out.”
The obvious comparison here is the films released under the Marvel Studios banner, like the upcoming 'Captain America: The Winter Soldier' and 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' which take place in the same universe. Sony's plans to build a larger Spider-Man universe were obviously hatched after seeing what Disney and Marvel Studios honcho Kevin Feige cooked up, but the big difference is that one company has access to tons of comic book lore across countless titles and characters and the other is attempting to squeeze annual content out of one character and his relatively contained world.
In other words, you don't have to be an industry expert to see how this could be a huge mistake for the studio. Sure, people will always go see a Spider-Man movie when there's a new one every two-to-three years, but what happens when you make the films so commonplace that they stop being events? Marvel gets away with this because each of its films are profoundly different than the others, but it's hard to believe a 'Venom' movie could feel that much separate from the main 'Amazing Spider-Man' series.
Unfortunately, Sony has to put a Spider-Man movie into develop every few years in order to maintain the franchise rights -- otherwise they'll divert back to Marvel -- which explains why "toning it down" is not in its current vocabulary. As fans, all we can hope for is some course correction.