Why 'The Amazing Spider-Man 3' Could Be the Last Film in the Series


Spider-Man is in danger, and there's a good chance that the Spider-Senses at Sony (NYSE: SNE  ) have risen to more than a tingle.

The iconic character's latest film outing has grossed approximately $705 million at the global box office. That's a less-than-spectacular sum, considering the resources poured into the project. Reports have suggested that the film had a budget in the neighborhood of $400 million, with sources like Deadline claiming that the movie cost as much as $455 million to produce and market globally. With these kinds of numbers, Sony is looking at breaking even or making a very small profit with The Amazing Spider-Man 2.

Toward the end of June, a rumor began to circulate that Sony was no longer confident in its plans for the series. While this speculation might have previously been dismissed as industry scuttlebutt, it's starting to look increasingly credible. Writer Roberto Orci recently announced that he left The Amazing Spider-Man 3. He also made comments suggesting that the series' future is in jeopardy. What will happen to Spidey and spin-off films Venom and Sinister Six?

Is this the end of the 'Amazing' series and its expanded universe?
Last October saw Orci sign on to write The Amazing Spider-Man 3. He would be assisted in the task by his longtime writing partner Alex Kurtzman, as well as Jeff Pinkner, one of the writers who had worked with the duo on Amazing Spider-Man 2. Orci and Kurtzman have helped to pen some of the most successful box-office hits of the last decade, but the pair recently announced that they have gone their separate ways and do not plan on collaborating on future projects. Kurtzman is currently in line to direct Sony's Sinister Six, which is scheduled for a 2017 release. Orci is set to direct Viacom (NASDAQ: VIA  )  and Paramount's Star Trek 3  

While the parting of the writing duo makes Orci's non-involvement in the third Amazing film less surprising, the writer and soon-to-be director recently gave some very revealing comments on the project. When asked about the film in an interview with IGN, Orci said, "I don't know what their plans are for that franchise. I don't ever want to say never, but we have to figure out what their scheduling is in terms of when they want each movie. I've read probably as much as anyone else. There's a love for the Sinister Six, the idea of Venom -- there's an idea of Spider-Man's going to be one of these characters that's part of our business. He's such a popular character." Orci went on to reiterate that Sony has yet to figure out its plans for the future of the Spider-Man franchise.

Is Spider-man in good hands?
It's easy to see why Sony would be worried about the handling of its most valuable movie property. The two films in the Amazing series have failed to match the earnings of any film in the Sam Raimi-directed trilogy, and Amazing Spider-Man 2 comes in as the lowest-grossing film in the franchise. One possible solution that has been put forth is that Kurtzman's Sinister Six will be swapped into Amazing 3's 2016 release window. While such a move could pay off for the company, it would also be risk-heavy.


Kurtzman has never directed a big-budget studio picture before, and the broader Spider-series would be greatly harmed by another lackluster entry. That's not to suggest that having an inexperienced director behind a project spells certain doom -- Disney's Maleficent falls under that category and has made approximately $669 million -- but it's a questionable choice for a studio aiming to restore a faltering franchise.

Spider-Man's former writer aims for the stars
Now that Orci is officially off all things Spider-Man, he'll be able to concentrate on his directorial debut and attempt to reenergize Viacom's "Star Trek" property. While 2013's Star Trek Into Darkness currently has the series' highest worldwide box-office total, at approximately $434 million, the film failed to match its 2009 predecessor's $258 million domestic haul and was widely viewed as an underperformer.

Another Spider-Man misstep would be a huge blow to Sony
Sony's film timetable makes it unlikely that the company will choose to scrap the Amazing series and pursue another reboot. That said, moving Sinister Six into the 2016 release window and shifting the third mainline entry in the Amazing property is starting to look increasingly likely.

Unfortunately for Sony, this type of uncertainty does not bode well for the quality of its upcoming Spider-films and the strength of an expanded universe. Regardless of what the next movie released in the broader franchise happens to be, Sony desperately needs a hit.

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Read/Post Comments (17) | Recommend This Article (12)

Comments from our Foolish Readers

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  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2014, at 6:46 PM, needles94 wrote:

    maybe if sony didn't try to dip their meddling hands in Marc Webb's vision, hired better writers, and didn't show 75% of the movie in the trailers as well as literally shoving the trailers, posters, ads, tv spots down our throats nonstop for 6 months (resulting in a RIDICULOUS 200 million dollar marketing campaign)

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2014, at 6:52 PM, Alericc wrote:

    I think they should have stopped at 2, it was a badly written mish mash that more resembled the Same Rami train wrecks than anything else. The only thing missing in the movie was Damon Wayans to come running in and over acting.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2014, at 6:52 PM, wufpakjack wrote:

    Unless Sony changes their focus and decides to make Spider-Man a more character-driven property, I think they've passed the point of optimized profits. The most recent Spider-Man movie was not good. It seemed like their were too many cooks in the kitchen and the story suffered. Andrew Garfield is the perfect Spider-Man, however as brilliant as he is, he cannot carry those movies alone.

    Sony should cut their losses and sell Spider-Man back to Marvel/Disney. At this point, only Marvel can revive this character and make him interesting again.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2014, at 7:37 PM, NinjinSteve wrote:

    There is an error in the article.

    Kurtzman is NOT directing Sinister Six. Drew Goddard is.

    Kurtzman is supposed to direct Venom.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2014, at 8:07 PM, spinod wrote:

    I'm honestly sick of people saying "sell it back to Marvel." An article on Cinelinx showcased why those people don't know what they are talking about. You act as if Marvel are gods and do no harm, yet how mad are people about a certain Iron Man villain? How great was the reception to the first Captain America? The only thing people want is Spider-Man in Avengers, so why not just ask for that? Have Sony and Marvel team up? Work together?

    As a Spider-Man fan, no I don't want Marvel to have full rights right now. I like Spider-Man by himself, I don't want him all twisted up in Avengers and only in Avengers. Marvel having him means other characters get kicked out of the slots, and Spider-Man doesn't get his own whole universe. Instead it all needs to revolve around Avengers....

    And people saying Sony is so terrible, are you forgetting one important thing? It's thanks to Sony that superhero movies are so massive! If the first Spider-Man didn't take off so well, nothing would have followed!

    With that being said, I don't mind if they take "Amazing" off. It doesn't suit the Amazing comics at all. However I do not want to see yet another reboot. Get this universe off the ground, I say YES jump to Sinister Six. IF that includes Mysterio, bam that will be absolutely epic! Then follow it with ASM3 and develop MJ, maybe jump into the black suit, more Mysterio. Follow that with a black suit movie, then have the Venom movie after that. Eventually Venom could lead to Carnage, and in this you could spin off Venom on his own.

    What NEEDS to be done is the execs need to stop worrying about it. Let the creative people do their jobs. Stop attempting to "make it work" and just let it work. It's their jobs to make the movie, not yours. If they can't do their jobs well, then it is your jobs to find someone that can.

  • Report this Comment On July 14, 2014, at 8:29 PM, LazyCapitalist wrote:


    It was actually the first X-Men that re-birthed the modern comic book film craze. Filming for Spider-Man (1) didn't begin until months after Fox proved that comic movies could be successful again (after Batman & Robin nearly killed the entire film genre, lol). But Spider-Man was the movie that confirm that the craze was here to stay.

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2014, at 12:04 AM, PAJohnDoe wrote:

    I was intrigued by the title when it popped up in my Yahoo newsfeed, but then I saw what site it was on...

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2014, at 1:44 AM, nowandthenreader wrote:

    yah !

    let's hope it's the start of a trend.

    enough of these largely repetitive, convoluted and often boring comicbook adaptations.

    back to real movies !

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2014, at 8:57 AM, CalvinballPro wrote:

    BLADE started the modern comic movie trend, years before Spider-man.

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2014, at 9:13 AM, GN2014 wrote:

    The Amazing Spiderman 2 was not a very good movie. No real action for the first 50 minutes. Harry did not pop up til an hour into the movie. I just could not watch it anymore. Jamie Foxx was horrible. Just a bad movie.

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2014, at 9:33 AM, Droppo wrote:

    It doesn't require Marvel Studios to make good comic book movies, but every Spiderman movie has been a little worse than the one before it, starting with the really good Spiderman 1 with Toby M. and slowly decending into the mess that is Amazing Spiderman 2 which I considered walking out of several times. So at this point, it would be GREAT for Marvel to regain the rights, but I don't just push for that, I push for Marvel to have the rights to ALL Marvel characters. You know... being Marvel and all. They belong with their home studio and then ALL characters can potentially mix as needed. Or not. You know... like they are supposed to according to the actual comics they are based on...

    Some of the other comic movies that are non-Marvel have been pretty good, but the track record for BEST results is obviously with Marvel Studios. They have produced blockbuster after blockbuster and people have high hopes for announced future projects as well. These high expectations DO NOT exist right now for upcoming Spiderman movies.

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2014, at 10:23 AM, vocal75 wrote:

    It's funny to think of over 700 million as a bomb... but I do see how the trend is worrying. As someone who didn't bother to see the movie (but who loves comic book movies in general), the thing that kept me away, was feeling underwhelmed with the apparent story-line and lackluster word of mouth. It's story that makes or breaks movie and this one's plot was too messy. I agree with a reviewer above that it isn't necessary for Spider-man to revert to Marvel/Disney, but some sort of cross-over might revitalize the property. They probably won't do it, but it would make sense to team up with the X-men franchise Fox has going and I bet the movie would break records. In any case, another re-boot is not the smart way to go. We don't want to see yet another origin story for Peter Parker.

  • Report this Comment On July 15, 2014, at 3:48 PM, M1k3G wrote:

    Sony has a tendency to make movies for the under 10's. The plots and the acting are juvenile. And then to top it off, they have a tendency to mess with the characters. The reboot of the fantastic 4 is a disaster in the making. Suddenly Sue (the Invisible Woman) will have a black sibling (the Torch). Don't mess with things that can't be easily explained, or that don't make sense. If somebody HAS to be black, let it be the Thing, its less of a radical change. Or just introduce a black villain.

  • Report this Comment On July 16, 2014, at 12:44 AM, LazyCapitalist wrote:


    Doctor Storm (Sue and Johnny's father) is also played by a black actor (Reg E. Cathey) in the reboot. So Sue is likely adopted or she and Johnny are half/step siblings or whatever. Easily explained. It'll take all of 5 seconds (if they even bother explaining it at all).

    In a movie universe where people can stretch their bodies great lengths, be completely engulfed in flames, turn invisible, and have rock-like skin, is a multiracial/blended family really that difficult to explain?

    I mean, Sue was played by a Mexican-American woman (Alba) the last two movie. No explanations needed there, right?

    Also, the Fantastic Four movies are done by Fox, not Sony.

  • Report this Comment On July 16, 2014, at 7:13 AM, Hoser003 wrote:

    A lot of sites have been reporting that this franchise is in trouble now due to the box office gross v cost of production of "Amazing Spider-Man 2" and Orci's comments. Here is why they are wrong.

    1) Amazing 2 cost just over $300m to make and market. It grossed, world wide, over $700m.

    That means that Amazing 2 made Sony nearly $400m in profit. While not as big as Amazing 1, $400m in profit is more than what it cost to make and promote the film. Sony will not drop, or reboot, this franchise until that profit margin drops significantly.

    2) Orci is no longer part of Sony's Spider-Man team, so of coarse he has no idea what Sony's plans are for Spider-Man! He knows what they talked about prior to leaving, but of coarse Sony isn't going to talk to him about their plans now. Remember, Orci was confirmed as the director for Star Trek 3 back in beginning of May, the same month as Amazing 2's US. Release. These comments are just a few days old. He has been out of the loop with the Spider-Man franchise for 2 months, if not slightly over. As far as his comments concerning timetable, it most likely has nothing to do with Sony not knowing what its timeline is, but rather comments directed at himself being able to work with Sony on any of the future Spider-Man movies or spin-offs. Most sites are glossing right over a key thing that Orci said

    "I've read probably as much as anyone else." People are reading into comments made by someone who admits that his current knowledge concerning the Spider-Man franchise is from what he's read, and that is "as much as anyone else".

  • Report this Comment On July 16, 2014, at 9:21 AM, LazyCapitalist wrote:


    Box office total minus production and marketing costs does not equal the exact dollar amount profit for the studio. Sony does not get 100% of the box office receipts. It gets maybe 50% of domestic box office receipts (give or take, I don't know the exact percentage) and it gets much less for international.

    There are other factors and considerations as well.

  • Report this Comment On July 20, 2014, at 12:49 PM, Hoser003 wrote:


    You are correct. But from a pure cost to film/marketing (which can be found), it made back what it cost times 2. Even after the distributors, and any other non-film and non-marketing cost, Amazing 2 still made a good amount of money for Sony.

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