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Spider-Man (Sam Raimi film series)

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The Spider-Man film series consists of superhero films based on the fictional Marvel Comics character of the same name. The rights to a motion picture based on Spider-Man were purchased in 1985 and moved through various production companies and studios, at one point having James Cameron to direct, before being secured by Sony Pictures Entertainment.

Sony hired comic book fan Sam Raimi to direct the first three films. Through the films, Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire) developed a relationship with his high school crush Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst), and has battled the villains Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina), New Goblin (James Franco), Sandman (Thomas Haden Church), and Venom (Topher Grace) as Spider-Man.

The first three films, produced on a total budget of US$597 million, grossed nearly $2.5 billion worldwide. Each film set several box office records, with all three included in the top 20 highest-grossing domestic films as well as the top 25 highest-grossing worldwide films. Critics have given the first two films positive reviews, while the third film has received mainly mixed reviews. The series has been released on both Blu-ray and DVD.


Spider-Man (2002)

Spider-Man follows Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire), an orphaned high schooler who pines after popular girl-next-door Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst). While on a science class field trip, Peter is bitten by a genetically-engineered "super spider." As a result, Peter gains superhuman abilities, including increased strength, speed, and the abilities to scale walls and generate organic webbing. After his beloved uncle (Cliff Robertson) is murdered, a murder Peter could have easily prevented, the teenager realizes that he must use his newfound abilities to protect New York City. Meanwhile, wealthy industrialist Norman Osborn (Willem Dafoe), the father of Peter's best friend Harry Osborn (James Franco), subjects himself to an experimental performance-enhancing serum, which creates a psychotic and murderous split personality. Donning a military battlesuit, Norman becomes a freakish "Green Goblin", who begins to terrorize the city. Peter, as Spider-Man, now must do battle with the Goblin, all while trying to express his true feelings for Mary Jane.

Spider-Man 2 (2004)

Main article: Spider-Man 2 (film)

Spider-Man 2 picks up two years after the events of the first film. Struggling to balance both his superhero life and private civilian life, Peter still pines after Mary Jane, who is now engaged, and Harry continues to thirst for revenge against Spider-Man. As the stress of his dual life causes Peter's superpowers to wane, the hero must contend with the presence of Otto Octavius (Alfred Molina), a.k.a. Dr. Octopus, a mad scientist with four mechanical tentacles fused to his spine who sets out to recreate a dangerous fusion-based experiment that could destroy half of New York City. As the villain rampages across the city, Peter must choose between living the normal life he desires, or committing to his responsibility to protect New York as Spider-Man.

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

Main article: Spider-Man 3 (film)

Spider-Man 3 finds Peter basking in the spotlight as Spider-Man, and finding a balance between being a superhero and being with his love, Mary Jane Watson. Harry finally decides to take his revenge by setting up Mary Jane, then becomes the New Goblin and threatens the elements in Peter's life. Eddie Brock (Topher Grace), another photographer for the Bugle, sets out on a mission to defame Spider-Man and incriminate him. Flint Marko AKA William Baker (Thomas Haden Church), an escaped convict, falls into a particle accelerator and becomes a shape-shifting sand monster later known as Sandman. He sets out to steal money for his chronically ill daughter. Peter later learns that Marko is the one that killed Uncle Ben, causing Peter's own dark intentions to grow. This vendetta is enhanced by the appearance of the mysterious black alien symbiotic substance that bonds to Peter, resulting in the formation of a new, jet-black costume. Once Peter separates himself from the alien, it finds a new host in the form of Brock, resulting in the creation of Venom.

Unproduced and Cancelled films

Spider-Man 4

In 2008, Spider-Man 4 entered development, with Raimi attached to direct and Maguire, Dunst and other cast members set to reprise their roles. Both a fourth and a fifth movie were planned, and at one time the idea of shooting the two sequels concurrently was under consideration. However, Raimi stated in March 2009 that only the fourth film was currently in development and that if there were fifth and sixth films, the two films would actually be a continuation of each other. James Vanderbilt was hired in October 2007 to pen the screenplay, after initial reports in early 2008 that Sony Pictures was in contact with David Koepp, who wrote the first Spider-Man film. The script was subsequently rewritten by Pulitzer-winning playwright David Lindsay-Abaire, and rewritten again by Gary Ross in October 2009. Sony also engaged Vanderbilt to write scripts for Spider-Man 5 and Spider-Man 6.

In 2008, Raimi expressed interest in portraying the transformation of Dr. Curt Connors into his villainous alter-ego, the Lizard; the character's actor Dylan Baker and producer Grant Curtis have also been enthusiastic about the idea. It was reported in December 2009 that John Malkovich was in negotiations to play Vulture, and that Anne Hathaway would play Felicia Hardy, though she would not have transformed into the Black Cat, as in the comics. Instead, Raimi's Felicia was expected to become a brand-new superpowered figure called the Vulturess.

Sony Pictures announced in January 2010 that plans for Spider-Man 4 had been cancelled due to Raimi's withdrawal from the project. Raimi reportedly ended his participation due to doubt that he could meet the planned May 6, 2011 release date while upholding the film creatively.


In July 2007, Avi Arad revealed a Venom spin-off was in the works. The studio commissioned Jacob Aaron Estes to write a script, but rejected it the following year. In September 2008, Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese signed on to write. Stan Lee did sign on to make a cameo in the film. Rhett Reese later revealed that they had written two drafts for the film and that the studio is pushing the film forward. Gary Ross has been called to do a rewrite, and may also direct the film. Variety has stated that Venom will become an anti-hero instead of a villain. This suggests that it will be an adaption of Venom: Lethal Protector, the comic book spin-off that portrays Venom as an anti-hero, with Spider-Man guest starring.

Home media release

All three films were released on DVD, the first two being released exclusively as two-disc sets, with the third film being released in both single and two-disc editions. All three films were later packaged in a "Motion Picture DVD Trilogy" box set. Spider-Man 3 was initially the only Spider-Man film to be released individually on the high-definition Blu-ray format. The first two films were made available on Blu-ray, but only as part of a boxed set with the third film, called Spider-Man: The High-Definition Trilogy. The first two films lacked the bonus features from the DVDs, although Spider-Man 2 did contain both cuts of the movie. Sony announced on April 2, 2012 that the three films would be re-released on June 12, 2012. The re-releases included a movie pass to go see The Amazing Spider-Man.[citation needed] The DVDs of the first two movies reinstated the bonus features missing from the earlier Blu-ray releases, although the Spider-Man 3 reissue did not include the bonus disc of additional special features that appeared on earlier Blu-ray releases.

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