Rebooting the Spider-Man Movie Franchise Is Looking Like a Smart Move for Sony’s Business

As much as comic book fans tend to bemoan reboots, by the numbers, the Spider-Man movie universe could bring Sony huge profits.

Apr 12, 2014 at 9:00PM

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 premiered to big crowds in London earlier this week. Judging from the reaction on social media and among critics, the second installment in Sony's (NYSE:SNE) rebooted Spider-Man movie franchise should equal or improve upon its predecessor's performance.

Strong reviews and social media interest indicate a big opening for The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Sources: Sony Pictures, YouTube.

Spinning a web of profits
Spidey's last cinematic battle, with The Lizard, earned $757.9 million worldwide in 2012, according to data supplied by At Rotten Tomatoes, 73% of critics and 77% of moviegoers rated that film "fresh." Others polled by CinemaScore gave it an "A-" rating.

We won't have a CinemaScore for the new Spider-Man movie until May 2, when The Amazing Spider-Man 2 swings into U.S. theaters. There are plenty of good indicators in the meantime:

  • Early reviews at Rotten Tomatoes score the film as 86% "fresh" among critics. Another 114,000 visitors say they want to see the movie. For comparison's sake, 89% of critics and 95% of audience members (more than 171,000 polled) give a thumbs-up to Walt Disney's (NYSE:DIS) Captain America: The Winter Soldier, which also received an "A" CinemaScore and appears on its way to at least $600 million at the worldwide box office.

  • tracks social media buzz for popular movies. So far, tweets about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 appear to be running between 7:1 and 9:1 positive. (Though, notably, the site says that Twitter buzz for the film is running about 35% below The Winter Soldier at a similar point in its release schedule.)

  • Meanwhile, Variety estimates the film cost $200 million to produce -- or about $30 million less than what Sony spent on the first in its newest line of Spider-Man movies. A bigger box office would have a bigger impact on the studio's bottom line.

Whether we actually get a bigger overall box office is hard to say at this point, but nearly every review I've seen says that stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and Dane DeHaan bring terrific performances to the big screen, which trends to count for a lot when it comes to box office buzz.

Need a recent example? Look at Divergent. Awful reviews still take note of the on-screen chemistry between Shailene Woodley and Theo James, which has paid off with audiences who gave the film an "A" CinemaScore. Lions Gate's (NYSE:LGF) opener in the franchise has earned $116.6 million domestically as of this writing, likely enough to cover the film's costs when you factor in $70 million in pre-sold international rights.

Foolish final thought
Add it up, and it's looking like the new Spider-Man movie franchise is every bit the hero Sony needs it to be. Do you agree? Do you plan to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2? What do you think of the studio's plan to establish a wider universe of Spider-Man movies to rival Disney and Marvel? Leave a comment below to let us know your take, including whether you would buy, sell, or short Sony stock at current prices.

Amazing Spider Man

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opens May 2 in U.S. theaters. Source: Sony Pictures.

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Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He owned shares of Walt Disney at the time of publication. Check out Tim's web home and portfolio holdings or connect with him on Google+Tumblr, or Twitter, where he goes by @milehighfool. You can also get his insights delivered directly to your RSS reader.

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4 in 5 Americans Are Ignoring Buffett's Warning

Don't be one of them.

Jun 12, 2015 at 5:01PM

Admitting fear is difficult.

So you can imagine how shocked I was to find out Warren Buffett recently told a select number of investors about the cutting-edge technology that's keeping him awake at night.

This past May, The Motley Fool sent 8 of its best stock analysts to Omaha, Nebraska to attend the Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholder meeting. CEO Warren Buffett and Vice Chairman Charlie Munger fielded questions for nearly 6 hours.
The catch was: Attendees weren't allowed to record any of it. No audio. No video. 

Our team of analysts wrote down every single word Buffett and Munger uttered. Over 16,000 words. But only two words stood out to me as I read the detailed transcript of the event: "Real threat."

That's how Buffett responded when asked about this emerging market that is already expected to be worth more than $2 trillion in the U.S. alone. Google has already put some of its best engineers behind the technology powering this trend. 

The amazing thing is, while Buffett may be nervous, the rest of us can invest in this new industry BEFORE the old money realizes what hit them.

KPMG advises we're "on the cusp of revolutionary change" coming much "sooner than you think."

Even one legendary MIT professor had to recant his position that the technology was "beyond the capability of computer science." (He recently confessed to The Wall Street Journal that he's now a believer and amazed "how quickly this technology caught on.")

Yet according to one J.D. Power and Associates survey, only 1 in 5 Americans are even interested in this technology, much less ready to invest in it. Needless to say, you haven't missed your window of opportunity. 

Think about how many amazing technologies you've watched soar to new heights while you kick yourself thinking, "I knew about that technology before everyone was talking about it, but I just sat on my hands." 

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That's why I hope you take just a few minutes to access the exclusive research our team of analysts has put together on this industry and the one stock positioned to capitalize on this major shift.

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David Hanson owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway and American Express. The Motley Fool recommends and owns shares of Berkshire Hathaway, Google, and Coca-Cola.We Fools don't all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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