Spider-Man is caught up in a whole new kind of web — this one with an extra "B" — which could signify that his über-successful superhero franchise is back on track.
Marc Webb, the 34-year-old music-video director who recently made his feature-film debut with "(500) Days of Summer," was officially announced Tuesday (January 19) as the new name behind one of Hollywood's biggest franchises. Webb takes over for Sam Raimi, who recently abandoned plans to return with stars Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst for a fourth film about the web-slinger.
"At its core, 'Spider-Man' is a small, intimate human story about an everyday teenager that takes place in an epic superhuman world," Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, and Matt Tolmach, president of Columbia Pictures, said in a joint statement. "The key for us as we sought a new director was to identify filmmakers who could give sharp focus to Peter Parker's life. We wanted someone who could capture the awe of being in Peter's shoes so the audience could experience his sense of discovery while giving real heart to the emotion, anxiety and recklessness of that age and coupling all of that with the adrenaline of Spider-Man's adventure. We believe Marc Webb is the perfect choice to bring us on that journey."
Set to hit theaters in the summer of 2012, details are vague on whether the next "Spider-Man" movie will feature a numeral in the title, and all indications are that it will be a complete reboot with all new actors. Webb spoke to MTV News over the weekend at the Golden Globes (where he was nominated for Best Picture, Comedy or Musical for "Summer") and expressed affection for the "Ultimate Spider-Man" comic series, which could flavor his take on Peter Parker's story.
"This is a dream come true, and I couldn't be more aware of the challenge, responsibility, or opportunity," Webb said in the statement. "Sam Raimi's virtuoso rendering of Spider-Man is a humbling precedent to follow and build upon. The first three films are beloved for good reason. But I think the Spider-Man mythology transcends not only generations but directors as well. I am signing on not to 'take over' from Sam. That would be impossible. Not to mention arrogant. I'm here because there's an opportunity for ideas, stories and histories that will add a new dimension, canvas and creative voice to Spider-Man."
First appearing in 1962's "Amazing Fantasy" comics, the red-and-blue-suited superhero was originally created by the late Steve Ditko and writer/editor Stan Lee. In the years since, Spidey has become arguably the most famous superhero in the world, and Raimi's three "Spider-Man" films earned over $1.1 billion combined.
"I'm excited that Sony has chosen a director with a real penchant and understanding for the character," Stan Lee said in the statement. "This is a brave, bold direction for the franchise, and I can't wait to see what Marc comes up with next."
Added Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige: "The idea of reimagining the onscreen story for one of the world's most iconic superheroes is sure to deliver an exciting new dimension to Spider-Man fans everywhere. There are volumes of comics and material available to inspire fresh and compelling takes on Peter Parker and his journey as Spidey, and we look forward to seeing this come alive onscreen."
Webb began his career with the music video for "My Star" by the Shame Idols, then went on to direct such well-regarded clips as Green Day's "21st Century Breakdown" and "21 Guns," Miley Cyrus' "Start Over," My Chemical Romance's "Teenagers" and Fergie's "London Bridge." This past year, Webb debuted the romantic comedy "(500) Days of Summer" to raves at the Sundance Film Festival, then had the small film become one of the year's biggest success stories.
Webb will work closely with original "Spider-Man" trilogy producers Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin in developing the new film, written by James Vanderbilt, which will begin production later this year. Casting announcements are expected to be made in the next few months.
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