Did you know that Spider-Man is the most licensed character in all of comics, with total licensing sales in 2013 ($1.3 billion) easily surpassing the second closest character, Batman ($494 million)? Did you also know that Sony, the company that owns the Spider-Man film rights, has nothing to do with that? They can make the live-action Spider-Man films, but not any toys. Marvel (er, technically Disney) gets to do that. That maybe gives you a better sense of why The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s box office performance* has seemingly thrown Sony’s plans into disarray. The number of ways they can actually make money off Spider-Man is comparatively limited.
However, Sony’s CEO Kaz Hirai appears supremely confident. At an Investors Day meeting in Tokyo earlier this week, he projected a 36% growth for Sony Pictures by 2018, raising its annual revenue up to $11 billion between now and then. Hirai cited the projected profits for the Playstation and forthcoming Spider-Man sequels as a huge factor in this conclusion.
Wait a minute. What Spider-Man sequels? Amazing Spider-Man 4 is off the schedule, and Amazing Spider-Man 3 has been delayed from 2016 to 2018 with a huge “this movie may never get made” asterisk next to it. The solo Venom movie is apparently dead, and insane rumors continue to circulate about dropping Andrew Garfield and introducing his replacement as the new Spider-Man in Sinister Six as a soft franchise re-boot. It still wouldn’t actually be that surprising if Sinister Six, due in 2016, never gets made. Plus, rumors abound that Sony might loan Spider-Man out for an appearance in an Avengers sequel, and what we’re hearing about Sony’s female-led Spider-Man film keeps getting crazier.
First, Sony let it slip to Deadline that they had hired Lisa Joy Nolan (Christopher Nolan’s sister-in-law) to pen a screenplay for a female-led Spider-Man movie. We actually don’t really know for sure which female characters Sony even has the rights to, especially since though she’s called Spider-Woman that particular character typically has little to do with Spider-Man in the comics. She’s more of an Avengers character.
Then, a rumor dropped that their female-led Spider-Man movie had morphed into a all-female team-up, ala what Paul Feig is doing with his Ghostbusters re-boot.
Yes. Aunt May.
Not the older Aunt May, currently played by Sally Field, but a younger, Aunt May.
A movie about Aunt May as a youth, before she was shouldered with the responsibility of raising Peter Parker. The target mood is some sort of espionage story in the vein of AMC’s Mad Men, which sounds like a way of saying “classier Agent Carter” without name-dropping Marvel’s upcoming series.
This news actually broke last week. I somehow completely missed it. So, you may have already read about this, scoured the internet for funny GIF reactions, and moved on. However, this is all fresh to me, and I’m kind of speechless. LatinoReview is usually trustworthy. They’re not always right, of course, but I know that everything they’ve said about Avengers: Age of Ultron to this point has been pretty spot-on. So, if they say Sony is working on an Aunt May spin-off I don’t necessarily think that’s a movie that’ll get made; I do, however, believe it’s one they’d be discussing because it’s starting to look like they’re just going to throw everything at the wall and see what sticks. It also fits into the trend of the first two Amazing Spider-Man movies to seriously overestimate how much we care about the lives of Parker’s parents. Why not now extend that to Aunt May, a character whose background does not really matter.
If the comic book movie bubble ever bursts it won’t be because Marvel Studios puts out more than 2 movies a year, or because their films feel more like big TV episodes than actual pieces of cinema. It’ll burst because Sony is out there seriously discussing making an Aunt May movie because they seem to have no idea what to do with their property but are unwilling to walk away.
What do you think? Does there really need to be an Aunt May movie? If so, please explain to me why because I’m just not seeing it. Let me know in the comments.
*Obligatory mention that Amazing Spider-Man 2‘s final box office totals aren’t terrible – $202 million domestic/$708 million worldwide against a production budget somewhere around $200 million