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'Amazing Spider-Man 2': Marc Webb talks new approach for super-sequel

As the release date for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 approaches, the anticipation among fans is nearing a fever pitch. Factor in the release of the so-called “final trailer” on Wednesday, and you have an added layer of excitement for a comic book franchise whose fans always have something to say.

So director Marc Webb — fresh off the announcement that he won’t be directing the fourth installment of the series — hosted a Q&A in New York City for journalists and revealed the top five things fans really, really need to know before heading to see The Amazing Spider-Man 2 when it hits theaters May 2.

This film reflects a new approach. “I didn’t want to be bound,” Webb said of revamping his approach for the sequel. The first film was emotional and origin-driven, but this time around the 39-year-old said he embraced the “12-year-old-kid in me, the one who thinks ‘this is awesome!’” and opened up the sequel to everything that he enjoyed while reading comic books. “There were things I wanted to try, like moving the camera around for the big Electro sequence,” Webb said. “But I wanted to keep the characters.”

Pay attention to the soundtrack — seriously. Webb paired up with Hans Zimmer and The Magnificent Six — which includes Pharrell Williams and Johnny Marr — to make music an integral part of the film’s experience beyond just a soundtrack. “They were incredible,” Webb said, “really committed to the process of understanding the film.” And that applies to character development too. In fact, Pharrell and Webb worked extensively to “create a balance between Electro’s psychosis and his pathos.”

“He came up with the idea of voices in his head,” Webb said of Pharrell’s contribution. “There’s a scene in Times Square where I had to have Electro switch against Spider-Man and those voices become dominant yo help signal that. … The music literally became part of the character. It’s a way to connect the audience to the thought process of the character.”

Hello, multiple bad guys. This film offers so much more than the first movie in the way of pricey special effects, punchy lines, and expertly choreographed action sequences. Fans will get not one, but three villains in the upcoming film — completing a roster of bad guys who lend extra dimension to the superhero otherwise known as Peter Parker. “Different parts of the character are challenged by different villains, different adversaries,” Webb said of the cast. “One of the great things about the Marvel universe is the complexity of the villains. There’s often a pre-existing, domestic relationship, like with Harry Osborn, that makes those conflicts more emotional and endearing.”

Electro will shock audiences. Shaping the look and dialogue for Electro (Jamie Foxx) was a particular challenge for Webb, who strove to create a parallel between the Oscorp employee-turned-blue bad guy and Spider-Man — with loads of extra-cool special effects, of course. “The cinematic possibilities of that character, I think, were extraordinary,” Webb said about Electro. “I had to explore that, in thinking of the nature of this villain.” Foxx delivered complexity to a character who “wants to be seen,” said Webb, so fans: Make sure to take note of how the hero and villain “react to their situations in a way that defines their characters.”

Gwen and Aunt Mary get a bumped-up storyline. The ladies of The Amazing Spider-Man — Emma Stone and Sally Field — are back for round two. But there’s an extra character (no spoilers!) who adds some extra dimension (and sheds some extra light) on who Peter Parker really is. It’s no mistake that girl power is central to the storyline, Webb said, joking that his mom was his inspiration for the film’s pumped-up female presence. “We’re surrounded by really wonderful women,” Webb noted of the women on his production staff. “It’s just important for the universe…the [women] are a crucial part of Peter’s life.”

'Amazing Spider-Man 2' cast members surprise fans at Comic-Con meetup

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 stars Jamie Foxx and Andrew Garfield, along with director Marc Webb, surprised fans at the EW/Tumblr meetup at Comic-Con last weekend, stealthily sneaking in to participate in a Q&A with moderator Sara Vilkomerson, who wrote the EW cover story on the highly anticipated second installment of the Amazing Spider-Man series. Producers Matt Tolmach and Ari Arad also joined in the conversation.

But before the cast and crew arrived on the scene, the audience was treated to an evening hanging out with fellow serious Spidey fans — EW’s Amanda Taylor spoke with some of them about their favorite villains and Peter Parker love interests. Check out footage from the event, and our in-studio interview with Foxx, Webb, Garfield, and Dane DeHaan, below:
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Best of 2012 (Behind the Scenes): How the 'Amazing Spider-Man' team made Spidey's swing look so real

Some of the coolest parts of The Amazing Spider-Man are the dizzying shots of Spidey rocketing through the air as he swings around the city. If those scenes seem a little more realistic than in previous movies about the web slinger, there’s a reason. Here, in a piece by originally published when the film opened in July, stunt coordinator Andy Armstrong explains how they reworked Spider-Man’s swing for the new film. For more stories behind this year’s top TV and movie moments, click here for EW.com’s Best of 2012: Behind the Scenes coverage.

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'Amazing Spider-Man' Blu-ray: Finding the next Peter Parker -- EXCLUSIVE VIDEO

Sandwiched in between The Avengers and The Dark Knight Rises this past summer, The Amazing Spider-Man was practically overshadowed — that is, if you can possibly say such things about a film that made more than $750 million worldwide. Not too shabby for a reboot just five years after the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire trilogy concluded. Directed by Marc Webb (500 Days of Summer), Spider-Man was a more grounded superhero blockbuster, anchored by Andrew Garfield’s more modest Peter Parker.

The movie arrives on Blu-ray tomorrow, and in this exclusive behind the scenes clip from the Blu-ray, Webb and the late producer Laura Ziskin explain how they settled on Garfield, who had wowed audiences in The Social Network. “We looked at every possible young man who was in the age category and we tested some extraordinary actors,” says Ziskin, who passed away from breast cancer in June 2011. Watch below: READ FULL STORY

Jamie Foxx circling role of major villain for 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

In a conceivably shocking development*, Jamie Foxx is in preliminary negotiations to take on the role of the villain Electro in The Amazing Spider-Man 2, EW has confirmed. “Dressed up as Electro for Halloween last night,” Foxx tweeted out this afternoon. “Costume fits well.” (*Apologies for the pun.) Variety first broke the news.

In the Marvel comics, Maxwell “Max” Dillon is an engineer who gains the ability to control electricity after he’s struck by lightning, and becomes the supervillain Electro.  READ FULL STORY

Shailene Woodley offered the role of Mary Jane Watson in 'The Amazing Spider-Man 2'

Peter Parker, you two-timing devil. EW has confirmed that Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) has been offered the role of Mary Jane Watson in the upcoming sequel to last summer’s The Amazing Spider-Man. If the deal goes through, Woodley would join Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, and director Marc Webb on the film, starting production in early 2013. (Variety first broke the story.)

The news could scarcely come at a better time for Woodley; ABC Family just decided to end her series The Secret Life of the American Teenager after its upcoming fifth season.

Played by Kirsten Dunst in the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy, the red-headed Mary Jane (or MJ) was introduced in the comics as a romantic rival of Parker’s other love interest, Gwen Stacy, and ultimately becomes the love of Peter’s life (and, for a time, his wife). READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Dark Knight Rises' soars to $36.4 mil; 'Total Recall' barely matches original's debut

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A sci-fi reboot and kiddie sequel were no match for the third weekend of Christopher Nolan’s blockbuster Batman finale.

The Dark Knight Rises led the box office for a third weekend in a row, grossing $36.4 million and giving Warner Bros.’ $250 million-budgeted Batman sequel $354.6 million domestically after 17 days. The film enjoyed a healthy 41 percent decline from its previous frame, and if its weekend estimate holds up, Rises will have notched a slimmer third weekend drop than The Dark Knight, which fell 43 percent to $42.7 million during its third weekend, thereby lifting its total to $393.8 million. READ FULL STORY

Box office report: 'Ice Age: Continental Drift' wins the weekend with $46 million

Spider-Man has been knocked off…and not by The Lizard.

Fox’s Ice Age: Continental Drift, the fourth film in the animated franchise, won the weekend with an estimated $46 million opening at the box office. The family-friendly flick bowed in 3,881 theaters and earned an $11, 853 per-theater average over the Friday-to-Sunday period. The film has already made roughly seven times that much in foreign territories. Compared to the previous installments in the Ice Age series, Continental Drift fell smack dab between the second and third film’s openings. And thanks to an bullish “A-” grade from CinemaScore, Continental Drift should get some strong word of mouth and hold up well with younger audiences and their parents.

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Box office update: 'Ice Age' freezes the competition with $16.5 million on Friday

No surprises here. The weekend’s only wide debut, Fox’s Ice Age: Continental Drift, was the top dog at the box office on Friday, earning $16.5 million. That solid bow puts the fourth chapter in the studio’s animated sequel on pace to not only win the weekend, but also to finish in the high-40s, assuming parents don’t mind keeping the kids indoors on a summer Saturday. Assuming those predictions are correct, Continental Drift should land between the second and third installments in the franchise, but fall short of its animated summer compadres, Madagascar 3: Europe’s Most Wanted and Brave, which both finished their first weekends with $60 million or better. But that’s only part of the picture, Ice Age has already proven that it’s a hit overseas, where it’s on track to collect an additional $250 million by the time the weekend comes to a close.

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Box Office Preview: 'Ice Age' heats up while 'Spider-Man' keeps swinging

Ice Age: Continental Drift should easily freeze out the competition at this weekend’s box office, where the fourth installment of the wildly popular (and profitable) animated series is the only new wide release — and the first major kid movie since last month’s Brave. In the 10 years since the original Ice Age (2002), the franchise has become a remarkably consistent moneymaker for Fox. Its last entry, 2009′s Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs, opened with a $41.7 million three-day weekend (though its full tally at that point was $66.7 million thanks to a Wednesday opening). Meanwhile, the similarly targeted Madagascar 3 bowed to $60.3 million last month and is crossing the $200 million mark as we speak, a sign of strong attendance from the stroller set. Look for Ice Age: Continental Drift to do about the same, netting $60 million in its first weekend.

The lack of new releases also means that The Amazing Spider-Man has plenty of room to stretch its legs this weekend. Without any new rivals for adults and fanboys, Sony’s record-setting tentpole should have no trouble keeping up its blockbuster pace in its second full frame. Looking at the runs of past summer hits like Marvel’s The Avengers or last year’s Fourth of July titan Transformers: Dark of the MoonThe Amazing Spider-Man should slide about 50 percent to $31 million, bringing its cumulative haul to an even $200 million by the end of the weekend. Of course, Spidey’s path won’t stay clear for long: The Dark Knight Rises rises will steal the spotlight — and a huge chunk of Spider-Man‘s core audience — when it bows next weekend.

Last weekend’s runner-up, Ted, could also have a mild decline thanks to the open playing field. The raunchy comedy, starring Mark Wahlberg and Mila Kunis, will likely lose 40 percent or so, bringing it in at $19 million for an end-of-weekend total of  $155 million — surpassing 21 Jump Street as the year’s highest grossing comedy.

Oliver Stone’s Savages debuted to a meek $16 million last week and got a C+ score in exit polls, which means it will probably drop sharply out of the top five this weekend. That leaves room for Brave and Magic Mike to squeeze in at fourth and fifth place respectively with drops of around 40 percent each, though Brave could take a harder hit from Ice Age.

1. Ice Age: Continental Drift – $60 million
2. The Amazing Spider-Man – $31 million
3. Ted – $19 million
4. Brave – $10 million
5. Magic Mike – $9 million

Keep checking EW for full box office coverage during the weekend.

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