Why was Spider-Man 4 canceled despite the impressive box office showing of Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3?
Spiderman first hit movie screens via Sam Raimi’s iteration of the superhero’s origin story, where Tobey Maguire’s Peter Parker who is an outcast at school and develops spider-like powers after being bitten by a radioactive spider. He then uses his powers to fight crime while struggling to navigate his relationships with his friends and family.
The impressive showings of the first Spider-Man movie led to its sequels, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3; and fans were understandably excited for a fourth installment but it never came to fruition.
- Why was Spider-Man 4 canceled
- What was Spider-Man 4 going to be about
- Why was The Amazing Spider-Man 3 canceled
Development for a live-action Spider-Man movie started way back in the 1980s, with numerous directors attached to helm the project, including James Cameron. But it would never see the light of day (or the production sets) because of issues with licenses and financing.
Progress was halted until 1999 when Columbia Pictures acquired the scripts from Metro Goldwyn Mayer, and David Koepp (who wrote the screenplay) was hired by Sony to work on the movie. The script was later rewritten by Scott Rosenberg, although Koepp did receive credits in the final movie.
Before Sam Raimi was the director for the movie, Sony considered other directors like Ang Lee (who later made 2003’s Hulk starring Eric Bana), Roland Emmerich, Tim Burton, Chris Columbus, and even M. Night Shyamalan to helm the project.
The movie eventually became the first film to hit $100 million in a single weekend and became the most successful superhero movie (at the time).
Why was Spider-Man 4 cancelled?
Following the impressive box office showing (despite the lukewarm fan reception) for the third installment of the movie, Sony decided to go ahead with plans for the fourth movie with development beginning in 2008.
Fans were still excited to see Tobey Maguire don the Spidey suit once again and Raimi was asked to helm the project, with James Vanderbilt was tasked with the writing of the screenplay.
However, it was later announced that Spider-Man 4 was not going to be made in favor of an entire reboot, despite the final box office numbers standing north of $890 million.
Sam Raimi wasn’t satisfied with the way that the project was heading, he was also unhappy with the script and couldn’t land on one that he was satisfied with and eventually, he agreed with Sony to abandon it – he said that he didn’t want to make a movie that was “less than great” and with that in mind, he felt that they shouldn’t make the movie, and carry on with their reboot instead.
Raimi described it as an “amicable and undramatic” breakup due to not being able to get the story to work on a level that he wanted before the deadline – he was also very unhappy about Spider-Man 3 and wanted Spider-Man 4 to end on a high note but couldn’t get the script together in time.
What was Spider-Man 4 going to be about
it was reported that during the development process of the fourth movie, Raimi wanted to introduce The Vulture into the storyline as the main villain (since portrayed by Michael Keaton in Spider-Man: Homecoming) and planned to get John Malkovich for the role, Ben Kingsley was also earmarked as one of the potential actors for it.
But then Sony wanted to introduce Dr. Curt Connors’ The Lizard instead, as the script development was still in progress, and Raimi didn’t feel like he could deliver the same amount of success as the first 2 movies. In fact, many potential villains were thrown into the conversation, with Raimi saying in a 2007 interview with MRV that he would love to see Electro or even the Sinister Six as a team in Spider-Man 4.
Rumors also arose saying that Anne Hathaway was mooted to play Spider-Man’s occasional love interest Felicia Hardy, or Black Cat – Rachel McAdams and Julia Stiles were also rumored to have been considered for the role as well.
In the ending of the third movie, we see Peter Marker and MJ in an embrace – so perhaps the fourth installation would’ve gone in the direction of the two attempting to mend their relationship. Harry Osborn also died in Spider-Man 3, so a likely additional plot would’ve seen Peter trying to get his life back to normal while grieving his best friend’s death.
Why was The Amazing Spider-Man 3 cancelled
Following the abandonment of Spider-Man 4, Sony rebooted the movies with director Marc Webb and Andrew Garfield now donning the Spidey suit – Sony said that they wanted someone younger to play Peter Parker.
The Amazing Spider-Man then did amazing at the box office, grossing almost $1 billion, and became the all-time highest-grossing reboot, catapulting Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone (who played Gwen Stacy in the movie) to super-stardom. And so the sequel was then planned and it raked in about the same amount of money but critics were critical of the story, complaining about too much going on. However, the movie performed well enough for the studio to plan more sequels – a spin-off was even considered at one point.
The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4 were originally planned to have Gwen Stacy returning as Spider-Gwen, as well as the introduction of Black Cat; with the movies mooted for a release in June 2016 and May 2018. But the movies faced production delays and Marc Webb said that he would only direct the third movie and act as a consultant for the fourth.
Sony wasn’t sure how to move forward after The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s subpar showing at the box office and Marvel Studio’s Kevin Feige then reached out to Sony Pictures and suggested that they allow Marvel Studios to handle it from there, with one eye on bringing Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.