Have you seen the new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man 2? I have, and as both a fan and as an investor, I'm nervous. I'll recount why in a moment. First, click the video to see more of what Sony (NYSE:SNE) has planned for Marvel's wall crawler:
Where is filmmaker Marc Webb going with this story? Here's what Sony says on the movie's synopsis page:
It's great to be Spider-Man (Andrew Garfield). For Peter Parker, there's no feeling quite like swinging between skyscrapers, embracing being the hero, and spending time with Gwen (Emma Stone). But being Spider-Man comes at a price: only Spider-Man can protect his fellow New Yorkers from the formidable villains that threaten the city. With the emergence of Electro (Jamie Foxx), Peter must confront a foe far more powerful than he. And as his old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, Peter comes to realize that all of his enemies have one thing in common: OsCorp.
Interesting. So perpetually troubled teen Parker, who already carries the burden of caring for a girlfriend and his Aunt May, now also has to bear the burden of keeping all of Manhattan safe while solving the mystery of what happened to his parents? Much as I hope the setup works, I can already see two problems:
1. At least three villains, and counting. We already know that Jamie Foxx assumes the role of Electro in ASM2 while Paul Giamatti plays the Rhino. But with Harry Osborn in the mix -- and Chris Cooper as Norman Osborn -- an appearance from either the Green Goblin or Hobgoblin seems likely. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 may suffer from the same sort of crowded script that made Spider-Man 3 the worst of Sam Raimi's run on the character.
2. A complicated plot needs room to breathe. The trailer and Sony's description also suggest that Webb spends ample time working through the mystery of what happened to Peter's parents. A good idea, I think, but one that needs screen time to fully explore. A crowded script would make that difficult under the best of circumstances.
So is it time to panic? No, but I think we can fairly say that Sony needs The Amazing Spider-Man 2 to be a win when Columbia Pictures and Screen Gems have failed to put up good numbers recently. In fact, U.S. grosses are down nearly 39% year-to-date through Dec. 5, Box Office Mojo reports. Sony's motion pictures and TV productions accounted for about 21% of pre-tax operating profit in the fiscal year ended in March.
In simple terms: Spidey is a meaningful contributor to Sony's bottom line. Or at least he has been up to this point. Unfortunately, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and its conflated story may change that.
Now it's your turn to weigh in. What do you expect from Sony's next Spider-Man film? Do you plan to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2? Leave a comment below to let us know what you think.
Fool contributor Tim Beyers is a member of the Motley Fool Rule Breakers stock-picking team and the Motley Fool Supernova Odyssey I mission. He didn't own shares i any of the companies mentioned in this article 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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