Studio in talks with writer over fourth installment

Shortly after getting their first look at “Spider-Man 3,” Columbia Pictures execs have begun negotiating with David Koepp to pen the script for a fourth installment of the franchise.

Koepp, who most recently wrote the draft of a fourth “Indiana Jones” project that got George Lucas, Steven Spielberg and Harrison Ford to reteam for Paramount, scripted the 2002 Spidey film that launched the studio’s most lucrative franchise.

Alvin Sargent scripted the second and third installments; all the pics in the Marvel Comics franchise were directed by Sam Raimi.

“Spider-Man 3″ bows on May 4, with Thomas Haden Church playing Sandman and Topher Grace as Venom. Laura Ziskin produces with Avi Arad and Grant Curtis.

Col is just beginning the process of development on the fourth Spidey pic — a pricey exercise since new deals will have to be made with Tobey Maguire, Kirstin Dunst and James Franco, along with Raimi if he decides to return to direct a fourth film.

The studio would release the pic in 2009 or 2010.

The first two movies had a combined worldwide gross north of $1 billion.

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