Sony taps '500 Days' helmer for franchise revamp

Marc Webb is taking on Sony’s webslinger.

Aptly named helmer has signed on to direct the studio’s relaunch of the “Spider-Man” franchise, which will bow theatrically in summer 2012.

Webb was a runner-up for job of helming Sony’s “Moneyball.” His name began to surface last week after the studio pulled the plug on a Sam Raimi-directed, Tobey Maguire-toplined “Spider-Man 4.” Similarly, everyone from Robert Pattinson to Jim Sturgess has been rumored to be on Sony’s star wishlist. However, a project insider said the studio wanted to lock down a helmer before turning its attentions to casting the Marvel superhero, who will be portrayed as a high schooler coming into his powers.

Sony is having to delicately balance trumpeting its relaunch with trying not to alienate the cast and director of the three recent “Spider-Man” films, which were box office blockbusters. Raimi has several projects in development at Sony, including “The Given Day.”

Webb comes much cheaper for the studio and is locked down for only one pic. Deal being negotiated includes options for more pics — fairly standard on a franchise.

New “Spider-Man,” written by James Vanderbilt, will begin lensing later this year. Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin are producing.

Webb, whose “(500) Days of Summer” has been an awards-season contender, was quick to point out that he isn’t taking over for Raimi. That would be impossible, not to mention arrogant,” he said. “I’m here because there’s an opportunity for ideas, stories and histories that will add a new dimension, canvas and creative voice to ‘Spider-Man.’”

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