×

Sony sets writer to spin ‘Spider-Man’

James Vanderbilt to pen upcoming sequels

As Sony Pictures Entertainment preps a fourth installment of “Spider-Man” to begin production early next year, the studio has quietly engaged screenwriter James Vanderbilt to pen “Spider-Man 5” and “Spider-Man 6.”

Vanderbilt was the first writer on “Spider-Man 4.” Director Sam Raimi brought on “Rabbit Hole” playwright David Lindsay-Abaire to rewrite him, and Gary Ross is now rewriting that script. The studio is enthusiastic about where it stands as the picture begins prepping for an early 2010 production start for a May 2011 release.

Raimi didn’t embrace all of Vanderbilt’s ideas, but execs at Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios have. Vanderbilt has been hired to pen the fifth and sixth movies, which have an interconnected storyline. That’s what was originally discussed when Vanderbilt signed on to write “Spider-Man 4,” but the idea of shooting a fourth and fifth film back to back with the original cast was scrapped.

Sources said it was unclear whether Raimi, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst will be back. If they aren’t, Vanderbilt’s script would be the blueprint for a franchise reboot. After committing to his fourth “Spider-Man” film, Raimi signed on to direct a new franchise based on the massively multiplayer role-playing online computer game “World of Warcraft” for Legendary Pictures and Warner Bros. Maguire and Dunst were locked into the first three pictures and made a new deal for “Spider-Man 4.” It’s unclear how long they want to continue with the series.

Then again, Raimi was initially doubtful for “Spider-Man 4” because he expected to direct “The Hobbit,” but returned after Guillermo del Toro got the job.

Why is Vanderbilt writing when so many variables are undecided?

The most important thing is for Sony to prime the “Spider-Man” pump more frequently. The lapse between films has grown with each blockbuster. The second film came only two years after the first, but it took three years for a third installment, and four years will have passed when “Spider-Man 4” opens in summer 2011.

Sony Pictures toppers Amy Pascal and Michael Lynton may well have a new franchise following last weekend’s strong opening of “District 9.” And after “Angels and Demons” grossed some $500 million worldwide, they will certainly move forward and extend the “Da Vinci Code” franchise with an adaptation of Dan Brown’s fall publishing release, “The Lost Symbol.” But “Spider-Man” remains the studio’s most important film franchise, and Sony doesn’t want to wait half a decade for the next outing.

While the “Spider-Man” movie business is booming, Sony has widenedits footprint on the franchise and become one of the investors in the Broadway musical version of the webslinger; the “Spider-Man, Turn off the Dark” tuner recently experienced a funding hiccup on the way to a planned March premiere.

Although there’s been speculation that the show, which will cost upward of $35 million to produce, may not get off the ground, the project is too important to the “Spider-Man” partners to be tabled, sources said. The musical has “The Lion King” director Julie Taymor and songs by U2’s Bono and the Edge.

Vanderbilt’s most recent script credits are the Sylvain White-directed “The Losers” for Warner Bros. and David Fincher’s “Zodiac.”

He’s repped by WME and Fuse Entertainment.

More Biz

  • UTA

    UTA Launches Sports Division With LeBron James' Agent

    UTA is diving into the sports arena through an investment in Klutch Sports Group, the agency that represents LeBron James and other stars. Klutch Sports founder Rich Paul will serve as head of the newly created UTA Sports wing in addition to running his own banner. Paul launched Klutch Sports in 2012 in Cleveland. UTA [...]

  • New York's Brooklyn Bowl Celebrates 10

    New York's Brooklyn Bowl Celebrates 10 Years With Plans to Expand

    In the middle of a conversation about the tenth anniversary of Brooklyn Bowl — the live-music-and-bowling venue that opened a second location in Las Vegas in 2014 — owner Peter Shapiro casually mentions that he’s planning on opening a third location in the U.S. within the next 12 months. He declines to provide any more [...]

  • Rob Stringer

    Sony Unites Recorded Music and Publishing Under One Company

    Sony has created Sony Music Group, an umbrella for both its recorded-music operation — Sony Music Entertainment — and its publishing company — Sony/ATV — under SME chief Rob Stringer, according to an internal document obtained by Variety. The move will take effect on Aug. 1. A source close to the situation tells Variety that [...]

  • Ken Ehrlich Jane Ortner Education Award,

    Grammy Awards Producer Shuffle: Ben Winston to Take Over From Ken Ehrlich in 2021

    As Variety reported in December, Ben Winston will take the reins of the Grammy Awards as executive producer in 2021 after longtime telecast leader Ken Ehrlich completes his 40th ceremony next year. Winston has become a prolific producer for CBS and other outlets since he moved to the U.S. nearly five years ago to launch [...]

  • PUBG - Xbox One

    Chinese Streaming Firm DouYu Raises $775 Million on NASDAQ Debut

    Chinese live-streaming firm DouYu has set a price of $11.50 per ADS share for its stockmarket debut on NASDAQ. Company CEO Chen Shaojie was expected to ring the exchange’s opening bell. The share sale will raise a total of $775 million, and provide the company $517 million of fresh capital. At that price DouYu would [...]

  • Lenny Bruce (1925-1966) social critic and

    Paul Krassner Recalls Lenny Bruce, Cavalier Magazine 50 Years Later

    Men’s magazine Cavalier was launched by Fawcett Publications in 1952 (motto: “For the American Male”). It was published the year before Playboy, to which it has often been compared. Imagine that this was a bastion of cutting-edge comic literature. Back in the day, Cavalier tried to be seen as slightly hipper, more youthful and considered [...]

  • LiveXLive Names AOL and MTV Vet

    LiveXLive Names AOL and MTV Vet Dermot McCormack President

    Live entertainment digital media company LiveXLive Media today announced that AOL and MTV veteran Dermot McCormack has been named president of the company. According to the announcement, McCormack will lead the business and creative operations of LiveXLive, effective immediately. McCormack previously served as AOL’s Global President of Video and Studios, where he oversaw the video [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content