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Disney unlikely to rescue ‘Spider-Man’

Production on Broadway musical still on hold

So troubled Broadway tuner “Spider-Man, Turn Off the Dark” is now a Disney Theatrical production, right?

Uh, no.

The news that Disney will acquire Marvel in a $4 billion deal prompted speculative chatter along Broadway on Monday, with one hypothetical situation imagining the Mouse’s legit division, Disney Theatrical Prods., swinging in to rescue “Spider-Man” from its much-publicized fiscal uncertainty.

At the moment, this seems unlikely for a number of reasons.

First of all, if “Spider-Man” — production on which is currently halted — is going to bow on Broadway this season, it’ll have to resume construction of the costly and complicated physical production immediately. While rumors have the show picking up again this week, it’s still way before Disney could finalize its deal to buy Marvel.

Besides, it’s understood that Marvel, a producer of “Spider-Man” along with David Garfinkle, Martin McCallum and Sony Pictures Entertainment, is just licensing the property, and was never on the hook to contribute any coin to the mega-musical’s hefty capitalization costs, considered to be north of $35 million. It’s a risk-free fiscal position that would seem foolish to abandon.

Under the new Disney-Marvel deal, pic output featuring Spider-Man will continue to be controlled by Sony, the studio behind the film series that has tallied three pics since 2002 and is gearing up for three more.

Regarding the status of the “Spider-Man” tuner, there was no comment from either the rep for “Turn Off the Dark” or from Disney Theatrical.

Still, legiters had their reasons for imagining a match. “Spider-Man,” after all, is helmed by Julie Taymor, director of long-running Disney stage hit “The Lion King,” which after 12 years on the boards remains one of the Rialto’s top earners.

Some observers noted the absence of a major new musical on the upcoming sked for Disney Theatrical and wondered if “Spider-Man” might fill the gap. And Disney Theatrical, which has been a fixture on the Rialto since “Beauty and the Beast” preemed in 1994, seemed to be the kind of experienced Broadway producer that the shaky “Spider-Man” is said, by some, to need.

Given its future close-knit relationship with Marvel, it also wouldn’t be unexpected for the Mouse House to offer up a friendly gesture and shell out the coin to make the “Spider-Man” production a reality.

For the time being, “Spider-Man” remains skedded to begin previews Feb. 25 at the Hilton Theater ahead of a March opening.

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