Sorry true believers, but “Spider-Man 4” is toast. Sam Raimi has pulled out of the project, saying he couldn’t make the 2011 release date, Deadline Hollywood reports. Sony plans to reboot Peter Parker back to high school with a new director and cast for summer 2012.
Script problems over which villains to use in the film led to clashes between Raimi and Sony, according to the Hollywood Reporter—Raimi wanted to use Vulture (John Malkovich?) while Sony was pushing to include Black Cat, possibly eyeing Anne Hathaway for the role.
From Deadline Hollywood:
The events that led to today’s shocking decision to scrap Spider-Man 4 can be traced to mid-December when I saw a December 11th email alerting the pic’s special effects crew that the fourquel would not be starting as planned “but Sam Raimi has story issues [that] need to be resolved before we are ready to shoot”. At that point, it wasn’t well known that the Spider-Man franchise director helming the 4th installment had huge problems with the script that has run through screenwriters Jamie Vanderbilt, David Lindsay-Abaire, and Gary Ross. I was told Sam Raimi had been very vocal inside Sony that he “hated” it. I broke this story on January 5th, and reported that Raimi and Sony were anxiously waiting for still another version from screenwriter Alvin Sargent, who wrote Spidey 2 & 3 and is married to Spidey franchise producer Laura Ziskind. “It is unlikely that May 11, 2011, date will be made,” a Sony insider told me that day.
According to a studio release, Sony is going ahead with a script by James Vanderbilt to be produced by Columbia, Marvel Studios and Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin. Sony co-chair and Amy Pascal and Raimi struck a conciliatory tone:
“A decade ago we set out on this journey with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire and together we made three Spider-Man films that set a new bar for the genre. When we began, no one ever imagined that we would make history at the box-office and now we have a rare opportunity to make history once again with this franchise. Peter Parker as an ordinary young adult grappling with extraordinary powers has always been the foundation that has made this character so timeless and compelling for generations of fans. We’re very excited about the creative possibilities that come from returning to Peter’s roots and we look forward to working once again with Marvel Studios, Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin on this new beginning,” said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment.
“Working on the Spider-Man movies was the experience of a lifetime for me. While we were looking forward to doing a fourth one together, the studio and Marvel have a unique opportunity to take the franchise in a new direction, and I know they will do a terrific job,” said Sam Raimi.
Raimi is now free pursue his previously announced projects, including a “World of Warcraft” film or an adaptation of Dennis Lehane’s novel “The Given Day.”