The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Spider-Man producer Laura Ziskin told an audience of theater owners that the fourth installment of Spider-Man’s celluloid adventures is tentatively scheduled to debut in May of 2011. The first three Spider-Man movies currently rank as the top three comic book adaptations in terms of domestic box office success, and the three films have taken in over $2.5 billion worldwide in theatrical showings.
Ziskin told the assembled California and Nevada theater owners that Sony Pictures did not yet have a finished screenplay for the fourth Spidey saga, but writers are working on the project and she is hopeful that things will fall into place. Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire and director Sam Raimi have not been signed for the film, but Sony Pictures “has paid Marvel to renew its rights” to the character.
The Spider-Man movie franchise has clearly been so successful that Sony isn’t going to walk away from it, but mounting a fourth film presents a lot difficulties and could be a very expensive proposition, especially in terms of personnel both in front of and behind the camera. Aside from money the key to reuniting the hugely successful Spider-Man team is a good script--after first indicating that he was walking away from the franchise after Spider-Man 3, Tobey Maguire has said that he could be tempted to return if there was a great script.
If things do fall into place for Spider-Man 4, a May 2011 date could still be dicey since that is the month picked by Marvel Studios for the release of its Captain America movie (see “Iron Man Sequel in 2010”). While there is no guarantee that either film will ready for a May, 2011—if they are, it could result in a very interesting game of debut date “chicken.”