Are you looking forward to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 this spring? Good, because there's a lot more of the Spidey universe coming your way. A lot.
There's an article published today at the Variety website that focuses on Sony Pictures' lack of ongoing franchises and the studio's reliance on Spider-Man as a reliable box-office earner. While the studio does own half of James Bond and has a few other potential tentpoles in the works, it seems as though its addiction to Spider-Man movies -- which have earned billions going back to the Sam Raimi installments -- is not about to dry up.
With The Amazing Spider-Man 2 due out May 2, Sony has already confirmed that it will make The Amazing Spider-Man 3 in 2016 and The Amazing Spider-Man 4 in 2018. But with Venom and Sinister Six movies also in development, studio head Amy Pascal has now pledged to release "Spider-Man movies every year."
There are no release dates yet for either Venom or Sinister Six, but Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek Into Darkness) are writing the former for Kurtzman to direct, while Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods) will write and possibly direct Sinister Six.
Starting with The Amazing Spider-Man 3 in June 2016 -- which will be the third Spidey film in a row directed by Marc Webb -- Pascal perhaps envisions Venom arriving in 2017 and Sinister Six landing in 2019, hopscotching between the Amazing Spider-Man installments and fulfilling her mission.
But the question is: Is this actually a good idea? Can the Spider-Man universe -- the only Marvel property that Sony owns -- be stretched that far? Marvel Studios itself has scores of characters and stories it can develop, while Fox at least has two properties -- X-Men and Fantastic Four -- that it can spin off into multiple films. Is there enough gas in the Spider-Man tank to support the same thing?
And is that what audiences want? Would a Spider-Man or Spider-Man-related film every summer for the next four, five or six years delight or exhaust moviegoers?
Don't forget: While enormously successful, with $752 million in worldwide box office, 2012's The Amazing Spider-Man remains the lowest-grossing film in the franchise. Even a multibillion-dollar tentpole can have its breaking point. Do you think Spidey will reach his if this plan comes to pass?