Disposable Cinema: I Give You the Future of ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’

On Monday it was announced Sony would release The Amazing Spider-Man 3 on June 10, 2016 and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 on May 4, 2018. Yes, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is still filming and won’t be in theaters until May 2, 2014, which gives us three sequels over the next five years to a lackluster reboot that began with a villain hellbent on turning everyone into lizards.

This is today’s Hollywood. This is why licensing expos and comic book conventions have become just as, if not more, popular than the most prestigious film festivals. This is why pictures of posters with a date on them make headlines. “Jurassic Park IV in 2015! Confirmed!”

Yes, I understand Hollywood is not a machine that runs on quality, it runs on money. The goal is not to make a great movie, the goal is to make a movie that will make money. If it’s great, all the better. Not because it means that singular movie will make more money (though that definitely helps), but because you can use that success to sell future films and continue to make money off the original accomplishments. As Transcendence is a hit, adding “From the writer of Transcendence” to the Prometheus 2 trailers won’t hurt matters any.

Getting back to Spider-Man… Sony has found renewed “success” in their Spider-Man franchise after rebooting the story of the high school superhero, played by soon-to-be 30-year-old Andrew Garfield, last year to the tune of $752+ million worldwide. Sound like a lot? Well, compared to the $890.9 million Spider-Man 3 (which didn’t take advantage of 3-D ticket prices) made five years earlier puts the latest film’s success in perspective just as much as it comments on the declining audience interest in seeing these carbon copy, cookie cutter, mass consumption “blockbusters” on the big screen in the first place. In fact, The Amazing Spider-Man is the lowest grossing installment of any of the four Spider-Man films Sony has released. Success!

Next step? The Amazing Spider-Man 2, a film that is already undergoing changes on the fly, just as the first film did.

Entertainment Weekly spoke with Shailene Woodley (The Descendents) who was to play Mary Jane Watson in Amazing Spider-Man 2, but it appears her role in the second film has been axed and the character will be recast for 2016’s Spider-Man 3.

“Of course I’m bummed,” Woodley said. “But I’m a firm believer in everything happening for a specific reason… based on the proposed plot, I completely understand holding off on introducing (Mary Jane) until the next film.”

What does that mean? Based on the proposed plot? What was the proposed plot when her character was written into the script?

Of course, anyone half paying attention already expects Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy to die some time in this next installment, but I guess her death and the introduction of a new love interest was just considered “too soon” for director Marc Webb and his committee of story consultants making sure the plot of the franchise is only deep enough to hardly sustain a feature film.

Meanwhile, James Franco, who starred in the original Sam Raimi-directed Spider-Man films as Harry Osborn, just reviewed Man of Steel for Vice and took the opportunity to not only discuss the latest Superman film, but also revisit his thoughts on the latest reboot.

“I don’t have a huge emotional attachment to the Spider-Man franchise as a subject,” he wrote. “I don’t really feel much distress over its being remade, for many reasons, but what is interesting to me is that it has been remade so quickly — and the reasons why… The answer is, of course, money. We are in the film business, and the studios are owned by large corporations who want to make money.

Add to that, Franco previously told MTV earlier this year, “[T]hey could have strayed a little bit more from the original.”

Of course, there is always a chance for these films to be decent, but that seems to be the bar nowadays… decent. I’ve argued with people over the quality of recent blockbusters such as Iron Man 3 and Star Trek Into Darkness and I keep coming back to them saying, “If a studio is going to spend $200 million on a movie I expect it to be better than ‘fine’.” Not only that, studios have saturated the market so much it’s gotten to the point it’s hard to remember the films that came out only a couple weeks ago.

I’m reminded of the fact this year has already brought us films such as Oz The Great and Powerful, Star Trek Into Darkness, G.I. Joe: Retaliation and A Good Day to Die Hard. All these movies came out this year, two of them are already on DVD, and it feels like ages since they were released. Hell, if it wasn’t for this silly “controversy” surrounding Man of Steel would anyone be talking about it any longer?

Studio attempts to target opening weekend box-office have succeeded. They’ve also managed to turn $200 million blockbusters into disposable commodities. A major studio release can expect about five days of relevancy once it’s released… and for the majority of the releases that’s generous. I expect nothing less from the multitude of Spider-Man movies coming down the pike.

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