The Spider-Man film series consists of superhero films based on the Marvel Comics superhero of the same name.
In 1977, the pilot episode of The Amazing Spider-Man television series was released by Columbia Pictures as a feature film outside of the United States. In 1978 episodes from the television series were re-edited and released outside of the United States as a feature film titled Spider-Man Strikes Back. In 1979, a film made using the same method was released as Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge. The disappointing performance of 1983's Superman III made comic book adaptations low priority in Hollywood, though the comic industry itself thrived.
Cannon Films development period
In 1985, after a brief option on Spider-Man by Roger Corman expired, Marvel Comics optioned the property to Cannon Films. Cannon chiefs Menahem Golan and his cousin Yoram Globus agreed to pay Marvel Comics $225,000 over the five-year option period plus a percentage of the film’s revenues. The rights would revert to Marvel if a film was not made by April 1990.
Tobe Hooper, then preparing both Invaders From Mars and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2, was mooted as director. Golan and Globus misunderstood the concept of the character ("They thought it was like The Wolf Man", said director Joseph Zito) and instructed writer Leslie Stevens, creator of The Outer Limits, to write a treatment reflecting their misconception. In Stevens’ story, a corporate scientist intentionally subjects ID-badge photographer Peter Parker to radioactive bombardment, transforming him into a hairy, suicidal, eight-armed monster. The human tarantula refuses to join the scientist’s new master-race of mutants, battling a succession of mutations kept in a basement laboratory.
Unhappy with the debasement of his comic book creation, Marvel’s Stan Lee pushed for a new story and screenplay, written for Cannon by Ted Newsom and John Brancato. The variation on the origin story had Otto Octavius as a teacher and mentor to a college-age Peter Parker. The cyclotron accident which "creates" Spider-Man also deforms the scientist into Doctor Octopus and results in his mad pursuit of proof of the Fifth Force. Ock reconstructs his cyclotron and causes electromagnetic abnormalities, anti-gravity effects, and bilocation which threatens to engulf New York and the world. Joseph Zito, who had directed Cannon’s successful Chuck Norris film Invasion USA, replaced Tobe Hooper. The new director hired Barney Cohen to rewrite the script. Cohen, creator of TV's Sabrina the Teenage Witch and Forever Knight, added action scenes, a non-canonical comic for the villain, gave Doc Ock the catch phrase, "Okey-dokey", and altered his goal from the Fifth Force to a quest for anti-gravity. Producer Golan (using his pen name "Joseph Goldman") then made a minor polish to Cohen's rewrite. Zito scouted locations and studio facilities in both the U.S. and Europe, and oversaw storyboard breakdowns supervised by Harper Goff. Cannon planned to make the film on the then-substantial budget of between $15 and $20 million.
While no casting was finalized, Zito expressed interest in actor/stunt man Scott Leva, who had posed for Cannon's promotional photos and ads, and made public appearances as Spider-Man for Marvel. The up-and-coming actor Tom Cruise was also discussed for the leading role. Zito considered Bob Hoskins as Doc Ock. Stan Lee expressed his desire to play Daily Bugle editor J. Jonah Jameson. Lauren Bacall and Katharine Hepburn were considered for Aunt May, Peter Cushing as a sympathetic scientist, and Adolph Caesar as a police detective. With Cannon finances siphoned by the expensive Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Masters of the Universe, the company slashed the proposed Spider-Man budget to under $10 million. Director Zito opted out, unwilling to make a compromised Spider-Man. The company commissioned low-budget rewrites from writers Shepard Goldman, Don Michael Paul, and finally Ethan Wiley, and penciled in company workhorse Albert Pyun as director, who also made script alterations.
Scott Leva was still associated with the character through Marvel (he had appeared in photo covers of the comic), and read each draft. Leva commented, "Ted Newsom and John Brancato had written the script. It was good but it needed a little work. Unfortunately, with every subsequent rewrite by other writers, it went from good to bad to terrible." Due to Cannon's assorted financial crises, the project shut down after spending about $1.5 million on the project. In 1989, Pathé, owned by corrupt Italian financier Giancarlo Parretti, acquired the overextended Cannon. The filmmaking cousins parted, Globus remaining associated with Pathé, Golan leaving to create 21st Century Film Corporation, keeping a number of properties (including Spider-Man) in lieu of a cash buy-out. He also extended his Spider-Man option with Marvel up to January 1992.
Golan shelved the low-budget rewrites and attempted to finance an independent production from the original big-budget script, already budgeted, storyboarded and laid out. At Cannes in May 1989, 21st Century announced a September start date, with ads touting the script by "Barney Cohen, Ted Newsom & John Brancato and Joseph Goldman." As standard practice, Golan pre-sold the unmade film to raise production funds, with television rights bought by Viacom and home video rights by Columbia Pictures, which wanted to establish a studio franchise. Stephen Herek was attached as director at this point. Golan submitted this "new" screenplay to Columbia in late 1989 (actually the 1985 script with an adjusted "1989" date) and the studio requested yet another rewrite. Golan hired Frank LaLoggia, who turned in his draft but grew disenchanted with 21st Century. Neil Ruttenberg was hired for one more draft, which was also "covered" by script readers at Columbia. Columbia’s script analysts considered all three submissions "essentially the same story." A tentative production deal was set. Said Stan Lee in 1990, "21st Century [is] supposed to do Spider-Man and now they're talking to Columbia and the way it looks now, Columbia may end up buying Spider-Man from 21st Century."
21st Century’s Menahem Golan still actively immersed himself mounting "his" Spider-Man, sending the original "Doc Ock" script for production bids. In 1990, he contacted Canadian effects company Light and Motion Corporation regarding the visual effects, which in turn offered the stop-motion chores to Steven Archer (Krull, Clash of the Titans).
Toward the end of shooting True Lies, Variety carried the announcement that Carolco had received a completed screenplay from James Cameron. This script bore the names of James Cameron, John Brancato, Ted Newsom, Barry [sic] Cohen and "Joseph Goldmari", a typographical scrambling of Golan's pen name ("Joseph Goldman") with Marvel executive Joseph Calimari. The script text was identical to the one Golan submitted to Columbia the previous year, with the addition of a new 1993 date. Cameron stalwart Arnold Schwarzenegger was frequently linked to the project as the director's choice for Dr. Octopus.
Months later, James Cameron submitted an undated 47-page "scriptment" with an alternate story (the copyright registration was dated 1991), part screenplay, part narrative story outline. The "scriptment" told the Spider-Man origin, but used variations on the comic book characters Electro and Sandman as villains. This "Electro" (named Carlton Strand, instead of Max Dillion) was a megalomaniacal parody of corrupt capitalists. Instead of Flint Marko's character, Cameron’s "Sandman" (simply named Boyd) is mutated by an accident involving Philadelphia Experiment-style bilocation and atom-mixing, in lieu of getting caught in a nuclear blast on a beach. The story climaxes with a battle atop the World Trade Center and had Peter Parker revealing his identity to Mary Jane Watson. In addition, the treatment was also heavy on profanity, and had Spider-Man and Mary Jane having sex.
This treatment reflected elements in previous scripts: from the Stevens treatment, organic web-shooters, and a villain who tempts Spider-Man to join a coming "master race" of mutants; from the original screenplay and rewrite, weird electrical storms causing blackouts, freak magnetic events and bi-location; from the Ethan Wiley draft, a villain addicted to toxic super-powers and multiple experimental spiders, one of which escapes and bites Peter, causing an hallucinatory nightmare invoking Franz Kafka’s "Metamorphosis"; from the Frank LaLoggia script, a blizzard of stolen cash fluttering down onto surprised New Yorkers; and from the Neil Ruttenberg screenplay, a criminal assault on the NYC Stock Exchange. In 1991, Carolco Pictures extended Golan’s option agreement with Marvel through May 1996, but in April 1992, Carolco ceased active production on Spider-Man due to continued financial and legal problems.
When James Cameron agreed to make Spider-Man, Carolco lawyers simply used his previous Terminator 2 contract as a template. A clause in this agreement gave Cameron the right to decide on movie and advertising credits. Show business trade articles and advertisements made no mention of Golan, who was still actively assembling the elements for the film. In 1993, Golan complained publicly and finally instigated legal action against Carolco for disavowing his contractual guarantee credit as producer. On the other hand, Cameron had the contractual right to decide on credits. Eventually, Carolco sued Viacom and Columbia to recover broadcast and home video rights, and the two studios countersued. 20th Century Fox, though not part of the litigation, contested Cameron’s participation, claiming exclusivity on his services as a director under yet another contract. In 1996, Carolco, 21st Century, and Marvel went bankrupt.
Via a quitclaim from Carolco dated March 28, 1995, MGM acquired 21st Century's film library, assets, and received "...all rights in and to all drafts and versions of the screenplay(s) for Spider-Man written by James Cameron, Ted Newsom & John Brancato, Menahem Golan, Jon [sic] Michael Paul, Ethan Wiley, Leslie Stevens, Frank Laloggia, Neil Ruttenberg, Barney Cohen, Shepard Goldman and any and all other writers." MGM also sued 21st Century, Viacom, and Marvel Comics, alleging fraud in the original deal between Cannon and Marvel. In 1998, Marvel emerged from bankruptcy with a new reorganization plan that merged the company with Toy Biz. The courts determined that the original contract of Marvel's rights to Golan had expired, returning the rights to Marvel, but the matter was still not completely resolved. In 1999, Marvel licensed Spider-Man rights to Columbia (by then absorbed by Sony) for a reported $7 million. MGM disputed the legality, claiming it had the Spider-Man rights via Cannon, 21st Century, and Carolco, and threatened to make a competing film.
007 vs. Spider-Man
In the meantime, MGM/UA chief executive John Calley moved to Columbia. Intimately familiar with the legal history of producer Kevin McClory’s claim to the rights to both Thunderball and other related James Bond characters and elements, Calley announced that Columbia would produce an alternate 007 series, based on the "McClory material", which Calley acquired for Columbia. (Columbia had made the original 1967 film spoof of Casino Royale, a non-Eon production).
Both studios now faced rival projects, which could undercut their own long-term financial stability and plans. Columbia had no consistent movie franchise, and had sought Spider-Man since 1989; MGM/UA’s only reliable source of theatrical income was a new James Bond film every two or three years. An alternate 007 series could diminish or even eliminate the power of MGM/UA’s long-running Bond series. Likewise, an MGM/UA Spider-Man film could negate Columbia’s plans to create an exclusive cash cow. Both sides seemed to have strong arguments for the rights to do such films.
The two studios made a complex trade-off in March 1999. Columbia relinquished its rights to create a new 007 series in exchange for MGM's giving up its claim to Spider-Man. Columbia acquired the rights to all previous scripts in 2000, but exercised options only on the "Cameron Material", i.e., both the completed multi-author screenplay and the subsequent "scriptment." After more than a decade of attempts, Spider-Man truly went into production.
Sam Raimi series
In April 1999, although Sony Pictures optioned from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer all preceding script versions of Spider-Man, it only excersized the options on "the Cameron material," which contractually included a multi-author screenplay and a 45 page "scriptment" credited only to James Cameron. The studio announced they were not hiring Cameron himself to direct the film. The studio lined up Roland Emmerich, Tim Burton, Chris Columbus, and David Fincher as potential directors. Fincher did not want to depict the origin story, pitching the film as being based on The Night Gwen Stacy Died storyline, but the studio disagreed. Sam Raimi was attached to direct in January 2000, for a summer 2001 release. He had been a big fan of the comic book during his youth, and his passion for Spider-Man earned him the job.
Cameron's work became the basis of David Koepp's first-draft screenplay, often word for word. Cameron's versions of the Marvel villains Electro and Sandman remained the antagonists. Koepp's rewrite substituted the Green Goblin as the primary antagonist and added Doctor Octopus as a secondary villain. Raimi felt the Green Goblin and the surrogate father-son theme between Norman Osborn and Peter Parker would be more interesting. In June, Columbia hired Scott Rosenberg to rewrite of Koepp's material. Remaining a constant in all the rewrites was the "organic webshooter" idea from the Cameron "scriptment". Raimi felt he would stretch the audience's suspension of disbelief too far to have Peter invent mechanical webshooters.
Rosenberg removed Doctor Octopus and created several new action sequences. Raimi felt adding a third origin story would make the film too complex. Sequences removed from the final film had Spider-Man protecting Fargas, the wheelchair-using Oscorp executive from the Goblin, and Spider-Man defusing a hostage situation on a train. As production neared, producer Laura Ziskin hired her husband, award-winning writer Alvin Sargent, to polish the dialogue, primarily between Peter and Mary Jane. Columbia offered David Koepp's name to the WGA as sole screenwriter, despite the fact that it had acquired Cameron's script and hired two subsequent writers. Without reading and comparing any of the material, the Writers Guild approved sole credit to Koepp.
With Spider-Man cast, filming was set to begin the following November in New York City and on Sony soundstages. The film was set for release a year later, but when the film was postponed to be released on May 3, 2002, filming officially began on January 8, 2001 in Culver City. Sony's Stage 29 was used for Peter's Forest Hills home, and Stage 27 was used for the wrestling sequence where Peter takes on Bonesaw McGraw (Randy Savage). Stage 27 was also used for the complex Times Square sequence where Spider-Man and the Goblin battle for the first time, where a three-story set with a breakaway balcony piece was built. The scene also required shooting in Downey, California. On March 6, 45-year-old construction worker Tim Holcombe was killed when a forklift modified as a construction crane crashed into a construction basket that he was in. The following court case led to the California Division of Occupational Safety and Health to fine Sony $58,805.
In Los Angeles, locations included the Natural History Museum (for the Columbia University lab where Peter is bitten and receives his powers), the Pacific Electricity Building (the Daily Bugle offices) and Greystone Mansion (for the interiors of Norman Osborn's home). In April, some of the Spider-Man costumes were stolen, and Sony put up a $25,000 reward, although they were never returned. Production moved to New York City for two weeks, taking in locations such as the Queensboro Bridge, the exterior of Columbia University's Low Library, the outside of the New York Public Library, and a rooftop garden in the Rockefeller Center. The crew returned to Los Angeles where production and filming ended in June. The Flatiron Building was used for the Daily Bugle.
Although it wound up being faithful to the comics, many designs were made for Spider-Man's costumes: one concept costume designer James Acheson became fond of had a red emblem over a black costume. To create Spider-Man's costume, Maguire was fitted for the skintight suit, being covered with layers of substance to create the suit's shape. It was designed as a single piece, except for the mask. The webbing, which accented the costume, was cut by computer. The mask eye lenses were designed to have a mirror look.
The Green Goblin's costume was created after Willem Dafoe was cast, as Dafoe rejected the initially bulky designs created beforehand. The finished design focused on a more streamlined and athletic feel, and the mask in particular was created to be an extreme cartoon version of his face, focusing on his long cheekbones. Some of the early designs were heavily inspired by black ops. One popular idea among the concept artists was to have the Goblin accompanied by adolescent women in costume and have their own gliders. Raimi hated the idea.
Visual effects supervisor John Dykstra was hired to produce the visual effects for Spider-Man in May 2000. He convinced Raimi to make many of the stunts computer generated, as they would have been physically impossible. Raimi had used more traditional special effects in his previous films and learned a lot about using computers during production. Raimi worked hard to plan all the sequences of Spider-Man swinging from buildings, which he described as, "ballet in the sky." The complexity of such sequences meant the budget rose from an initially planned $70 million to around $100 million. Shots were made more complicated because of the main characters' individual color schemes, so Spider-Man and the Green Goblin had to be shot separately for effects shots: Spider-Man was shot in front of a greenscreen, while the Green Goblin was shot against bluescreen. Shooting them together would have resulted in one character being erased from a shot.
Saki said the biggest difficulty of creating Spider-Man was that as the character was masked, it immediately lost a lot of characterization. Without the context of eyes or mouth, a lot of body language had to be put in so that there would be emotional content. Raimi wanted to convey the essence of Spider-Man as being, "the transition that occurs between him being a young man going through puberty and being a superhero." Dykstra said his crew of animators had never reached such a level of sophistication to give subtle hints of still making Spider-Man feel like a human being. When two studio executives were shown shots of the computer generated character, they believed it was actually Maguire performing stunts. In addition, Dykstra's crew had to composite areas of New York City and replaced every car in shots with digital models. Raimi did not want it to feel entirely like animation, so none of the shots were 100% computer generated.
Spider-Man 2 (2004)
Immediately after finishing Spider-Man, director Sam Raimi segued into directing a sequel. In April 2002, Sony hired Alfred Gough and Miles Millar to write a script with Doctor Octopus, the Lizard and Black Cat as villains. On May 8, 2002, following Spider-Man's record breaking $115 million opening weekend, Sony Pictures announced a sequel for 2004. Entitled The Amazing Spider-Man, after the character's main comic book title, the film was given a budget of $200 million and aimed for a release date of May 7, 2004. The following month, David Koepp was added to co-write with Gough and Millar.
In September 2002, Michael Chabon was hired to rewrite. His draft had a younger Doc Ock, who becomes infatuated with Mary Jane. His mechanical limbs use endorphins to counteract the pain of being attached to his body, which he enjoys. When he injures two muggers on a date, this horrifies Mary Jane and in the resulting battle with Spider-Man his tentacles are fused together, and the fusion begins to kill him. In the script, Octavius is the creator of the genetically-altered spider from the first film, and gives Peter an antidote to remove his powers: this means when Octavius is dying with his tentacles, he wants to extract Spider-Man's spine to save himself. This leads to the alliance with Harry in the final film. Beforehand, Harry and the Daily Bugle put a $10 million price on Spider-Man's head, causing the city's citizens to turn against him. Producer Avi Arad rejected the love triangle angle on Ock, and found Harry putting a price on Spider-Man's head unsubtle.
Raimi sifted through the previous drafts by Gough, Millar, Koepp and Chabon, picking what he liked with screenwriter Alvin Sargent. He felt that thematically the film had to explore Peter's conflict with his personal wants against his responsibility, exploring the positive and negatives of his chosen path, and how he ultimately decides that he can be happy as a heroic figure. Raimi stated the story was partly influenced by Superman II, which also explored the titular hero giving up his responsibilities. The story is mainly taken from The Amazing Spider-Man #50, "Spider-Man No More!" It was decided that Doc Ock would be kept as the villain, as he was both a visually interesting villain who was a physical match for Spider-Man, and a sympathetic figure with humanity. Raimi changed much of the character's backstory however, adding the idea of Otto Octavius being a hero of Peter, and how their conflict was about trying to rescue him from his demons rather than kill him.
Spider-Man 2 was shot on over 100 sets and locations, beginning with a pre-shoot on the Loop in Chicago during two days in November 2002. The crew bought a carriage, placing 16 cameras for background shots of Spider-Man and Doc Oc's train fight. Principal photography began on April 12, 2003 in New York City. The crew moved on May 13 to Los Angeles, shooting on 10 major sets created by production designer Neil Spisak. After the scare surrounding his back pains, Tobey Maguire relished performing many of his stunts, even creating a joke of it with Raimi, creating the line "My back, my back" as Spider-Man tries to regain his powers. Even Rosemary Harris took a turn, putting her stunt double out of work. In contrast, Alfred Molina joked that the stunt team would "trick" him into performing a stunt time and again.
Filming was put on hiatus for eight weeks, in order to build Doc Ock's pier lair. It had been Spisak's idea to use a collapsed pier as Ock's lair, reflecting an exploded version of the previous lab and representing how Octavius' life had collapsed and grown more monstrous, evoking the cinema of Fritz Lang and the film The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. Filming then resumed on that set, having taken 15 weeks to build, occupying Sony's Stage 30. It was 60 feet (18 m) by 120 feet (37 m) long, and 40 feet (12 m) high, and a quarter-scale miniature was also built for the finale as it collapses. Filming was still going after Christmas 2003.
A camera system called the Spydercam was used to allow filmmakers to express more of Spider-Man's world view, at times dropping 50 stories and with shot lengths of just over 2,400 feet (730 m) in New York or 3,200 feet (980 m) in Los Angeles. For some shots the camera would shoot at six frames per second for a faster playback increasing the sense of speed. Shots using the Spydercam were pre-planned in digital versions of cities, and movement of the camera was controlled with motion control, making it highly cost-effective. The camera system was only used in the previous film for the final shot.
Although roughly the same, costume designer James Acheson made numerous subtle changes to Spider-Man's costume. The colors were made richer and bolder, the spider emblem was given more elegant lines and enlarged, the eye-lenses were somewhat smaller, and the muscle suit underneath was made into pieces, to give a better sense of movement. The helmet Maguire wore under his mask was also improved, with better movement for the false jaw and magnetic eye pieces, which were easier to remove.
To create Doctor Octopus' mechanical tentacles, Edge FX was hired to create a corset, a metal and rubber girdle, a rubber spine and four foam rubber tentacles which were 8 feet (2.4 m) long, which altogether weighed 100 pounds (45 kg). The claws of each tentacle, which were dubbed "death flowers", were controlled by a single puppeteer in a chair, to control every available form on the claw. Each tentacle was controlled by four people, who rehearsed every scene with Molina to give a natural sense of movement as if the tentacles were moving due to Octavius' muscle movement. On-set, Molina christened his co-stars "Larry", "Harry", "Moe" and "Flo", with "Flo" being the top-right tentacle.
Edge FX was only hired to do scenes where Octavius carries his tentacles. CGI was used for when the tentacles carry Octavius: a 20 ft (6.1 m) high rig held Molina to glide through his surroundings, with CG tentacles added later. The CG versions were scanned straight from the practical ones. However, using the practical versions was always preferred to save money, and each scene was always filmed first with Edge FX's creations to see if CGI was truly necessary. Completing the illusion, the sound designers chose not to use servo sound effects, feeling it would rob the tentacles of the sense that they were part of Octavius' body, and instead used motorcycle chains and piano wires.
Blender 3D played a role in the development of Spider-Man 2: "As an animatic artist working in the storyboard department of Spider-Man 2, I used Blender's 3D modeling and character animation tools to enhance the storyboards, re-creating sets and props, and putting into motion action and camera moves in 3D space to help make Sam Raimi's vision as clear to other departments as possible" – Anthony Zierhut, Animatic Artist, Los Angeles.
Spider-Man 3 (2007)
In March 2004, with Spider-Man 2 being released the coming June, Marvel Studios had begun developing Spider-Man 3 for a release in 2007. By the release of Spider-Man 2, a release date for Spider-Man 3 had been set for May 2, 2007 before production on the sequel had begun. The date was later changed to May 4, 2007. In January 2005, Sony Pictures Entertainment completed a seven-figure deal with screenwriter Alvin Sargent, who had penned Spider-Man 2, to work on Spider-Man 3 with an option to write a fourth film.
Immediately after Spider-Man 2's release, Ivan Raimi wrote a treatment over two months, with Sam Raimi deciding to use the film to explore Peter learning that he is not a sinless vigilante, and that there also can be humanity in those he considers criminals. Harry Osborn was brought back as Raimi wanted to conclude his storyline. Raimi felt that Harry would not follow his father's legacy, but be instead "somewhere between." Sandman was introduced as an antagonist, as Raimi found him a visually fascinating character. While Sandman is a petty criminal in the comics, the screenwriters created a background of the character being Uncle Ben's killer to increase Peter's guilt over his death and challenge his simplistic perception of the event. Overall, Raimi described the film as being about Peter, Mary Jane, Harry, and the Sandman, with Peter's journey being one of forgiveness.
Raimi wanted another villain, and Ben Kingsley was involved in negotiations to play the Vulture before the character was cut. Producer Avi Arad convinced Raimi to include Venom, a character whose perceived "lack of humanity" had initially been criticized by Sam Raimi. Venom's alter-ego, Eddie Brock, already had a minor role in the script. Arad told the director that Venom had a strong fan base, so Raimi included the character to please them, and even began to appreciate the character himself. The film's version of the character is an amalgamation of Venom stories. Eddie Brock, Jr., the human part of Venom, serves as a mirror to Peter Parker, with both characters having similar jobs and romantic interests. Brock's actions as a journalist in Spider-Man 3 also represent contemporary themes of paparazzi and tabloid journalism. The producers also suggested adding rival love interest Gwen Stacy, filling in an "other girl" type that Raimi already created. With so many additions, Sargent soon found his script so complex that he considered splitting it into two films, but abandoned the idea when he could not create a successful intermediate climax.
Camera crews spent ten days from November 5, 2005 to November 18, 2005, to film sequences that would involve intense visual effects so Sony Pictures Imageworks could begin work on the shots early in the project. The same steps had been taken for Spider-Man 2 to begin producing visual effects early for sequences involving the villain Doctor Octopus.
Principal photography for Spider-Man 3 began on January 16, 2006 and wrapped in July 2006 after over a hundred days of filming. The team filmed in Los Angeles until May 19, 2006. In spring 2006, film location manager Peter Martorano brought camera crews to Cleveland, due to the Greater Cleveland Film Commission offering production space at the city's convention center at no cost. In Cleveland, they shot the battle between Spider-Man and Sandman in the armored car. Afterwards, the team moved to Manhattan, where filming took place from May 26, 2006 until July 1, 2006. Shooting placed a strain on Raimi, who often had to move between several units to complete the picture. Shooting was also difficult for cinematographer Bill Pope, as the symbiote Spider-Man, Venom, and the New Goblin were costumed in black during fight scenes taking place at night.
After August, pick-ups were conducted as Raimi sought to film more action scenes. The film then wrapped in October, although in the following month, additional special effects shots were taken to finalize the production. At the start of 2007, there were further pick-up shots regarding the resolution of Sandman's story, amounting to four different versions.
John Dykstra, who won the Academy Award for Visual Effects for his work on Spider-Man 2, declined to work on the third film as visual effects supervisor. Dykstra's colleague, Scott Stokdyk, took his place as supervisor, leading two hundred programmers at Sony Pictures Imageworks. This group designed specific computer programs that did not exist when Spider-Man 3 began production, creating nine hundred visual effects shots.
In addition to the innovative visual effects for the film, Stokdyk created a miniature of a skyscraper section at 1:16 scale with New Deal Studios' Ian Hunter and David Sanger. Stokdyk chose to design the miniature instead of using computer-generated imagery so damage done to the building could be portrayed realistically and timely without guesswork involving computer models. In addition, to Sony Imageworks, Cafe FX provided visual effects for the crane disaster scene when Spider-Man rescues Gwen Stacy, as well as shots in the climactic battle. To understand the effects of sand for the Sandman, experiments were done with twelve types of sand, such as splashing, launching it at stuntmen, and pouring it over ledges. The results were mimicked on the computer to create the visual effects for Sandman. For scenes involving visual effects, Thomas Haden Church was super-imposed onto the screen, where computer-generated imagery was then applied. With sand as a possible hazard in scenes that buried actors, ground-up corncobs were used as a substitute instead. Because of its resemblance to the substance, sand from Arizona was used as the model for the CG sand. In a fight where Spider-Man punches through Sandman's chest, amputee martial arts expert Baxter Humby took Tobey Maguire's place in filming the scene. Humby, whose right hand was amputated at birth, helped deliver the intended effect of punching through Sandman's chest.
Whereas the symbiote suit worn in the comics by Spider-Man was a plain black affair with a large white spider on the front and back, the design was changed for the film to become a black version of Spider-Man's traditional costume, complete with webbing motif. As a consequence of this, the suit Topher Grace wore as Venom also bore the webbing motif; as producer Grant Curtis noted, "it’s the Spider-Man suit, but twisted and mangled in its own right." Additionally, the motif gave a sense of life to the symbiote, giving it the appearance of gripping onto the character's body. When animating the symbiote, Raimi did not want it to resemble a spider or an octopus, and to give it a sense of character. The CG model is made of many separate strands. When animating Venom himself, animators observed footage of big cats such as lions and cheetahs for the character's agile movements.
Originally, Danny Elfman, the composer for the previous installments, did not plan to return for the third installment of Spider-Man because of difficulties with director Sam Raimi. Elfman said that he had a "miserable experience" working with Raimi on Spider-Man 2 and could not comfortably adapt his music. Christopher Young was then announced to score Spider-Man 3 in Elfman's absence. In December 2006, however, producer Grant Curtis announced that Elfman had begun collaborating with Christopher Young on the music for Spider-Man 3.
Sandman's theme uses "two contrabass saxophones, two contrabass clarinets, two contrabass bassoons and eight very low French horns" to sound "low, aggressive and heavy". Young described Venom's theme as "Vicious, my instructions on that one were that he’s the devil personified. His theme is much more demonic sounding." Venom's theme uses eight French horns. Raimi approved the new themes during their first performance, but rejected the initial music to the birth of Sandman, finding it too monstrous and not tragic enough. Young had to recompose much of his score at a later stage, as the producers felt there weren't enough themes from the previous films. Ultimately, new themes for the love story, Aunt May, and Mary Jane were dropped.
Unproduced and canceled films
In 2008, Spider-Man 4 entered development, with Raimi attached to direct and Maguire, Dunst and other cast members set to reprise their roles. Both a fourth and a fifth movie were planned and at one time the idea of shooting the two sequels concurrently was under consideration. However, Raimi stated in March 2009 that only the fourth film was in development at that time and that if there were fifth and sixth films, those two films would actually be a continuation of each other. James Vanderbilt was hired in October 2008 to pen the screenplay after initial reports in early 2008 that Sony Pictures was in contact with David Koepp, who wrote the first Spider-Man film. The script was subsequently rewritten by Pulitzer-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire and rewritten again by Gary Ross in October 2009. Sony also engaged Vanderbilt to write scripts for Spider-Man 5 and Spider-Man 6.
In 2008, Raimi expressed interest in portraying the transformation of Dr. Curt Connors into his villainous alter-ego, the Lizard; the character's actor Dylan Baker and producer Grant Curtis were also enthusiastic about the idea. Raimi also discussed his desire to upgrade Bruce Campbell from a cameo appearance to a significant role. It was reported in December 2009 that John Malkovich was in negotiations to play Vulture and that Anne Hathaway would play Felicia Hardy, though she would not have transformed into the Black Cat as in the comics. Instead, Raimi's Felicia was expected to become a new superpowered figure called the Vulturess.
As disagreements between Sony and Raimi threatened to push the film of the intended May 6, 2011 release date, Sony Pictures announced in January 2010 that plans for Spider-Man 4 had been cancelled due to Raimi's withdrawal from the project. Raimi reportedly ended his participation due to his doubt that he could meet the planned May 6, 2011 release date while at the same time upholding the film creatively. Raimi purportedly went through four iterations of the script with different screenwriters and still "hated it".
Marc Webb series
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
Simultaneous with the cancellation of Spider-Man 4, Sony announced that the franchise would be rebooted with a new director and new cast. The Amazing Spider-Man is scheduled to be released on July 3, 2012 in 3-D and focuses on Peter Parker developing his abilities in high school. Avi Arad, Laura Ziskin and Matt Tolmach, who were always involved with the franchise, continued on as producers of the film. Sony confirmed that Vanderbilt would write the script for the new film. Entertainment Weekly called Vanderbilt's script "gritty, contemporary" and referenced Batman Begins, Christopher Nolan's reboot of the Batman film series, which also reinvented the tone of the series. Alvin Sargent was then hired to fine-tune the script.Webb, whose previous film (500) Days of Summer was his directorial debut, was confirmed to direct the reboot. Amy Pascal and Matt Tolmach of Sony Entertainment stated that "the key for us as we sought a new director was to identify filmmakers who could give sharp focus to Peter Parker’s life. We wanted someone who could capture the awe of being in Peter’s shoes so the audience could experience his sense of discovery while giving real heart to the emotion, anxiety, and recklessness of that age and coupling all of that with the adrenaline of Spider-Man's adventure. We believe Marc Webb is the perfect choice to bring us on that journey." Webb stated that he was first hesitant about directing the film but then he said to himself "How could I walk away from this? What an opportunity! What better cinematic character is there than Spidey!" Webb commented on comparisons of his and Sam Raimi's work as director of a Spider-Man film:
- "Sam Raimi's virtuoso rendering of Spider-Man is a humbling precedent to follow and build upon. The first three films are beloved for good reason. But I think the Spider-Man mythology transcends not only generations but directors as well. I am signing on not to 'take over' from Sam. That would be impossible. Not to mention arrogant. I'm here because there's an opportunity for ideas, stories, and histories that will add a new dimension, canvas, and creative voice to Spider-Man."
- ―Marc Webb
In May 2010, The Hollywood Reporter said the actors who met with director Marc Webb to be considered for the lead role included Jamie Bell, Alden Ehrenreich, Frank Dillane, Andrew Garfield, and Josh Hutcherson and in June 2010 the Los Angeles Times reported that the shortlist had expanded to include Aaron Johnson and Anton Yelchin. At least Bell, Ehrenreich, Garfield, Yelchin Logan Lerman and Michael Angarano had screen tests. On July 1, 2010, it was confirmed that the role would go to Garfield. Webb felt that "he has a rare combination of intelligence, wit, and humanity." Garfield was 27 when being cast as Spider-Man, which raised concerns about his ability to play a high school student. The website HitFix reported that Sony realized this and thus the new movie may instead focus on Peter's college life; this was disputed by Entertainment Weekly, which reported that the film is still set in high school. Sony held auditions for the role of a young Peter Parker, somebody who would resemble Garfield in looks.
It was reported originally that the film would feature both Mary Jane Watson and Gwen Stacy as love interests, but the website The Wrap later reported that only Gwen Stacy will appear in the film. In August 2010, the list of actresses to play the love interest included Imogen Poots, Ophelia Lovibond, Lily Collins, Teresa Palmer, and Emma Roberts, and in September 2010 Variety reported that the shortlist had expanded to include Stone and Mia Wasikowska.The shortlist was reported to then include Dianna Agron, Georgina Haig, and Dominique McElligott. On October 5, 2010, it was confirmed that the role of Gwen Stacy would go to Stone. Tolmach said that her on screen spark is perfect for the role. Webb also said that the chemistry between Emma and Garfield is what made her the clear choice: "At the heart of the story of Peter Parker is not only the amazing Spider-Man, but also an ordinary teenager who is wondering what he has to do to get the girl. Andrew and Emma will bring everything audiences expect to these roles, but also make them their own.
Reportedly Sony was interested in casting Christoph Waltz as the villain of the film, however Waltz's representatives denied his involvement. Michael Fassbender was even linked to the villain role before signing on to play Magneto in X-Men: First Class. On October 11, 2010, Rhys Ifans was confirmed to be the unnamed villain in the film. On October 13, 2010, it was reported that Ifans will be playing Dr. Curt Connors, a.k.a. the Lizard. The producer Avi Arad has admitted to Empire interviewers that the Lizard is his favorite Spider-Man villain and that he has always wanted to do the Lizard as the villain of the film and that it was a dream come true that he was the chosen villain. Long before the villain was commited to the script, Avi already had conceptual drawings prepared for the Lizard to be the villain. Webb explains why he's the best villain for the film: "He's the literal embodiment of the theme of the movie, which is we all have a missing piece. He has no arm. Peter has no parents, and he fills that void with Spider-Man. Curt is not as strong as Spider-Man on the inside, but he wants to get back his arm and fill that void, and essentially he becomes a big bully."
Steve Kloves, a screenwriter that was commonly involved with the Harry Potter film series and who originally turned down the role, decided to be involved with tuning up the script with Sargent since he knew Sargent and the producer Ziskin (who died during the production of the film) and would decide to do them a favor at making the film good just like they wanted. He also wanted to write for Stone. Steve mostly focused on character and dialogue concentrating on Emma's character as Gwen Stacy and some of Garfield's character as well.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
The studio has made the sequel to The Amazing Spider-Man. The company hired James Vanderbilt to write the screenplay and Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci to re-write it. The sequel released on May 2, 2014. The sequel's main villains were Electro and the Green Goblin. Webb stated that the origin story would further unfold in the second episode. In June 2012, Webb said he was unsure whether he would return. He claimed he "wanted to create a universe that not only can withstand but anticipate future storylines" while also "working in and of itself for one movie." Garfield did reprise his role. Actor J. K. Simmons has also said he would like to reprise his role as J. Jonah Jameson from Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy if the studio offers it to him. But he did not appear. The producer, Tolmach, stated that there "will be more than one and at the very least three." On October 10, 2012, it was announced Shailene Woodley was offered the role of Mary Jane Watson. Jamie Foxx played Electro. On December 3, 2012, Marc Webb revealed that Dane DeHaan was chosen to play Harry Osborn. It is confirmed that actor Martin Sheen will return as Ben Parker in the film.. As it was reported in December 16, 2012, the film will begin shooting in London. London shooting is for Stone's character, Gwen Stacy, as in the Amazing Spider-Man comic, The Night Gwen Stacy Died. This is a possibility, but has not been confirmed yet as of January 2013. Stone stated about this that she'd like to see her character die in a sequel, referring to the Night Gwen Stacy Died. Paul Giamatti was to play the Rhino. Sadly, upon the movie's release, critics called it a muddled mess and Gwen Stacy's death was undignified. But the movie still got 709 million USD.
In July 2007, Avi Arad revealed a Venom spin-off was in the works. The studio commissioned Jacob Aaron Estes to write a script, but rejected it the following year. In September 2008, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese signed on to write. Stan Lee signed on to make a cameo in the film. Rhett Reese later revealed that they had written two drafts for the film and that the studio was pushing the film forward. Gary Ross was called to do a rewrite, and may also direct the film. Variety has stated that Venom will become an antihero instead of a villain. In March 2012, Chronicle director Josh Trank negotiated with Sony about his interest in directing the film after Ross left development to direct The Hunger Games. In June 2012, The Amazing Spider-Man producer Matt Tolmach, speaking of his and fellow producer Avi Arad's next project, a Venom movie, suggested it could follow the shared-universe model of the film The Avengers: "What I'm trying to say to you without giving anything away is hopefully all these worlds will live together in peace someday." Chris Zylka, who plays Flash Thompson in The Amazing Spider-Man, has expressed interest in Flash becoming Venom in the spin-off, similarly to how the character became Venom in Marvel Comics' Secret Avengers comic book series.
Marvel Cinematic Universe
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
Spider-Man: Homecoming is scheduled to be released on July 7, 2017. The film is directed by Jon Watts, from a screenplay by Jonathan M. Goldstein & John Francis Daleyand Watts & Christopher Ford and Chris McKenna & Erik Sommers. Holland, Tomei, and Downey reprise their roles as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, May Parker, and Tony Stark / Iron Man, respectively, and are joined by Michael Keaton, who plays Adrian Toomes / Vulture. Production began in June 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia and ended in October.
Spider-Man: Homecoming 2 (2019)
In December 2016, Sony Pictures announced a sequel for Spider-Man: Homecoming, scheduled to be released on July 5, 2019.
- Spider-Man's suit gets battle damage during the final battle.