It’s only been a few weeks since "Spider-Man 3" hit theaters (the chorus of critical "meh"’s is still ringing in our ears), but does that mean it’s too early to talk more Spidey sequels? If you’re the folks at the relatively franchise-starved Sony, the answer is "of course not" — which is why we’re here to report on the first distant rumblings of "Spider-Man 4."
The Hollywood Reporter says that the next two weeks will be an early turning point for the next step in the "Spider-Man" series — there’s a meeting scheduled between producer Laura Ziskin and the top muckety-mucks at Sony. Oh, and also in attendance? Trilogy director Sam Raimi, whose participation in future installments can rightly be said to fall somewhere between "crucial" and "very important."
Raimi’s emotional investment in the first three "Spider-Man" films has been well publicized, and he’s been understandably ambivalent about publicly committing to any more sequels, but this is Hollywood — if there’s a deal to be done, nothing’s impossible. Ziskin, in an early bit of gamesmanship, has been explicit about her future plans. From the article:
The upcoming meeting "will be the first step in a process," Ziskin adds. "’Spider-Man’ will continue; I can’t tell you every person who will be involved."
In other words: "Raimi, sign on the dotted line, before we hire Brett Ratner."
Also up in the air? The cast. In the weeks leading up to the release of "Spider-Man 3," Tobey Maguire said he was "up for it" if Raimi and Kirsten Dunst were along for the ride, and Dunst was quoted as saying she’d be back if Maguire and Raimi came too. It all sounds complicated — and it is — but as the Hollywood Reporter article lays out in detail, a lot of current megabucks franchises are at or near their conclusions, and Sony will do whatever it can to protect (and continue) "Spider-Man."
Sources: The Hollywood Reporter