Today Deadline spilled the news that Sony’s new Spider-Man Andrew Garfield is only being paid $500,000 for the upcoming Spider-Man reboot, with incrementally higher paydays for  the planned second and third Spidey reboot films.

This news is not surprising (cutting the cost of the Spider-Man franchise was one goal Sony stated early on) – however, there is some question about how realistic Sony’s goals are, and if they are not simply repeating the sordid history of their Spider-Man franchise.

According to Deadline, Andrew Garfield has a deal in place to receive $1 million for a second Spider-Man film, and $2 million for a third. To us rat-racers it might sound like big money – but in Hollywood? Not so much.

Granted, at the moment not a lot of us are that familiar with Andrew Garfield, so it’s not exactly a snub to his celebrity to hear that he’s only making 500K for this Spider-Man reboot. But Garfield does have a starring turn in Oscar-nominated director David Fincher’s upcoming biopic about the founders of Facebook, The Social Network. Early word we’re hearing is that Garfield is a standout performer in his role as Facebook co-founder Eduardo Saverin, the guy who left the team before Facebook went big time and later sued his old pals over the matter. By the time The Social Network hits theaters this fall, Garfield could likely be a breakout star.

Did I mention that Garfield has the usual renegotiation deals in place with Sony? If the Spider-Man reboot is a success then I’m sure you’ll be hearing all about that renegotiation issue, because if Garfield’s star is rising as quickly as some think it is, then in a few years you can bet the young actor will be asking for a bigger piece of that Spider-Man pie – and so will director Marc Webb (pictured above) if he does well at the helm, and so will  the actress who plays the love interest (provided they don’t kill her off at some point 😛 ).

In the end, if Sony does well with their lower-budget and “grittier” Spider-Man, it will still inevitably lead to the same bigger-is-better thinking that often ups the cost (and hollow spectacle) of major blockbuster franchises, while steering studios down the path of re-hashing proven formulas instead of exploring (and risking) creativity with each new franchise installment.  So how is this Andrew Garfield / Spider-Man situation going to be any different than when Tobey Maguire was paid $4 million then $17.5 million then $15 million (with sweet backend deals) then $50 million to wear the webs?

And if history does end up repeating itself in terms of cost inflation, what is the ultimate point of Sony pursuing this reboot of a franchise that had barely become a trilogy? To keep “re-inventing” the franchise over and over again in order to keep it cost effective, only to have its financial success be the same determent (high cost, low quality) they wanted to avoid in the first place? Am I the only one who’s beginning to see some obvious parallels to crack dealing here?

How Sony benefits from all this…

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