Sony shoots to expand Spider-Man's web with villain spinoffs

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Sony is expanding its Spider-Man franchise with spinoffs devoted to the web-slinger’s greatest arch-enemies. The studio stealthily announced plans for a Venom movie, as well as one about the Sinister Six, the Marvel Comics team of rouges that included, at one time, Doctor Octopus, Electro, Sandman, Vulture, Hobgoblin, and Mysterio.

The movies, combined with The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which will open June 10, 2016, will be continuous collaborative creations from a “franchise brain trust” that includes producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, director Marc Webb, and writers Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon, and Drew Goddard.

“This collaboration was born out of the great experience we and Marc had working with Alex, Bob, and Jeff on The Amazing Spider-Man 2,” Arad and Tolmach jointly said, in a statement. “With more than 50 years’ wealth of stories in the comic books to draw upon for inspiration, the Spider-Man universe is truly boundless; in addition, the Spider-Man comics have the greatest rogues gallery of any series, and to have the chance to explore that on film is truly thrilling. Until now, we have approached each film as a separate, self-contained entity, but with this move, we have the opportunity to grow the franchise by looking to the future as we develop a continuous arc for the story. That is what Alex, Bob, Jeff, Ed, and Drew will do in this unprecedented collaboration, and we’re excited about the directions they are taking the character and the world.”

Kurtzman, Orci, and Pinkner, who together co-wrote the script for next year’s Spider-Man sequel, are also writing the screenplay for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which Sony is optimistic that Webb will direct. Kurtzman and Orci, writing partners who’ve penned Star Trek and Transformers movies, will also pair with Solomon (Men in Black) on a script for Venom, with plans for Kurtzman to direct. (Kurtzman directed the 2012 drama, People Like Us, with Chris Pine and Elizabeth Banks.) Meanwhile, Cabin in the Woods director Goddard will write and likely direct The Sinister Six. (Goddard is also attached to Marvel’s planned Daredevil series for Netflix, so stay tuned on how that unfolds…)

“The Spider-Man film franchise is one of our studio’s greatest assets,” said Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, in a statement. “We are thrilled with the creative team we have assembled to delve more deeply into the world that Marc, Avi and Matt have begun to explore in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. We believe that Marc, Alex, and Drew have uniquely exciting visions for how to expand the Spider-Man universe in each of these upcoming films.”

Not mentioned in the release is Andrew Garfield’s long-range involvement in the spinoffs. He recently confirmed he’s under contract through Spider-Man 3a fourth Spidey film and presumable the spinoffs were “all news” to him.

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