On the eve of Comic-Con, Sony dropped some news about their Amazing Spider-Man franchise, but it wasn't the kind of overenthusiastic announcement that usually comes with Comic-Con. Instead, Sony is reining Spider-Man in. Sort of.
After The Amazing Spider-Man 2 had both lackluster reviews and a lackluster box office intake relative to the money spent on the sequel and the gross of its predecessor, the studio has now delayed the third film in the series to 2018. It was originally supposed to come out in 2016, with a fourth movie due in 2018. "The delay of the next sequel indicates Sony may want more time to consider its creative approach in the wake of the performance of No. 2," Ben Fritz wrote at The Wall Street Journal. But it's not all bad for the franchise. The studio announced that 2016 will now be home to the Sinister Six spinoff previously teased.
In recent weeks writers had speculated as to the future of the franchise, given that Roberto Orci let it drop in an interview with IGN that he's "not officially involved" with the third installment and hinted "at a bit of mission drift," in the words of Entertainment Weekly's Darren Franich.
The Spider-Man plans always seemed like a crass attempt by Sony to milk its superhero franchise for all it is worth like Disney has so successfully done with its Marvel properties. Now, Sony has gotten itself to a point where Gabe Toro of Indiewire's The Playlist argued earlier this week that Sony "needs to give 'Spider-Man' a break." And it is—to an extent. The news today is both a firming up of the Spider-Man universe plans and a chance for the studio to reevaluate what they have on their hands.