Let me see if I have this straight:
In the Spider-Man franchise, Sony had a well-respected, successful director in Sam Raimi, a game leading man in Tobey Maguire and enough residual respect for Spider-Man 2 to overcome less than stellar notices for Spider-Man 3. But instead of reuniting everyone for Spider-Man 4 (and possibly 5, as it had been rumored that the two would be shot back-to-back), you blow it all up on a reboot because Raimi can't get the shoot done by your timeline.
I'm not much of a conspiracy theorist, but I have to imagine there was something else going on here. I mean, successfully launching a film franchise is difficult -- really, really difficult -- and you don't easily walk away from one. If you spend anything less than $200 million on Spider-Man 4, you make your money back and then some.
This seems a little late, since this news posted a week or two ago, but I just saw something about a fourth Pirates of the Caribbean movie and it got me thinking about a fourth Spider-Man movie. Pirates will make big money and, more than likely, entertain many of the people entertained by the first three. That's what we like to call a "win-win" in my neck of the woods.
So, my baseless speculation?
- Producers were more than dissatisfied with the script. To cancel production, it must have been completely unusable. I know, I know: how can you NOT find a usable script featuring a character with 40 years of stories under his belt?
- The proposed budget -- how cool would it have been to see Spider-Man and the Vulture battling over New York City? -- was WAY over $200 million.
- Raimi and Maguire wanted a ridiculous amount of money, plus percentage.
- Maguire wants to hang up his tights, having already made tens of millions of dollars off the franchise.
- They wanted James Franco to return, but he's busy shooting soap operas.