If you missed our article on upcoming movie reboots, let us explain the term: A “reboot” is when a studio tries to re-launch a movie franchise – typically either a franchise that has long been dormant (see: Judge Dredd), has become outdated (Sherlock Holmes), or one that previously existed in some other medium, like TV or radio (21 Jump Street). Think of a movie “reboot” as being like a comic book “retcon” – only, you know, for movies.
Of course, things these days have taken a slight turn toward the ridiculous, as some studios barely wait for a franchise to cool off before trying to relaunch it again. Case in point: The Amazing Spider-Man is coming to theaters just five years after Spider-Man 3 debuted. In terms of cinematic shelf-life, five years is not long enough for most people to forget that a movie existed.
So why reboot a property like Spider-Man so soon? Money, for one thing. After three films, Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire was getting $50 million to stay with the franchise for a least two more films – that’s $50 million in the budget just for the star to show up. Other big players in the franchise like Kirsten Dunst or director Sam Raimi would’ve also gotten fatter paychecks – and Raimi was pushing for more creative control on Spider-Man 4, after Sony forced him to wedge so many story elements into Spider-Man 3 that the whole thing became a bloated mess that most fans point to as the worst in the series.
With an inflating budget in the hundred millions and friction with the director who made the franchise so popular, how would a little studio like Sony (sarcasm) get the Spider-Man ship back on track? Why, with a fresh start of course – reboot to the rescue.
By casting rising stars like Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone, Sony spends less on actor paychecks; the same logic applies when hiring a director like Marc Webb ((500) Days of Summer), who will essentially be getting his shot at the big time with this film. With less invested up front in personnel, and a smaller budget for creating the film, Sony has all the reason it needs (from a business standpoint) to restart their franchise. There’s also the small matter of holding on to the Spider-Man movie rights. If Sony doesn’t put out a Spidey movie every so often, the rights would then revert back to Marvel, who sold them (and many other character rights) to various movie studios back in the ’90s, when the comic publisher was going broke.
However, while it makes business sense for Sony to reboot the franchise, does that mean people will pay to see a Spider-Man origin story again?