[UPDATE: Sony's Press Release Confirms The Film's Production Start. See Below.]
Sony's decision to reboot its Spider-Man movie franchise remains contentious, so it's not surprising that director Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man failed to win over many fans of Sam Raimi's take on the character. However, at the end of the day, Webb overcame a lack of experience in the big-budget department to deliver a Spidey flick that satisfied more than it disappointed (and took in over $752 million in the process).
Back in 2012, there was a period of time when contractual obligations threatened to prevent Webb from returning for The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (note: that is not the official title). A deal was eventually struck, followed by months of additional casting and confirmation of Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone reprising their roles in the sequel - along with reports on a less-expected cast member coming back - culminating with the beginning of principal photography this week.
Webb took to Twitter to confirm production starting on the next Amazing Spider-Man installment, while also revealing the surprise news that part of the movie (if not the entire thing) will be shot on 35 mm, as opposed to the digital RED Epic 3D cameras used on its predecessor. The director did voice complaints about using the bulky 3D equipment - at an Amazing Spider-Man 3D preview last year - so it's possible Webb convinced studio heads to allow shooting on old-fashioned celluloid and then post-convert to 3D instead.
Check out the visual proof of Webb not shooting in digital below:
— Marc Webb (@MarcW) February 5, 2013
UPDATE: Sony has further announced the start of production on the film with the following press release:
Columbia Pictures announced today that filming has begun on The Amazing Spider-Man™ 2 in New York. The film is the first in the history of the franchise that will be filmed entirely in New York City and New York State.
The sequel to last year’s critical and box office hit The Amazing Spider-Man, the film stars Andrew Garfield, Emma Stone, Jamie Foxx, Shailene Woodley, Dane DeHaan, Colm Feore, Paul Giamatti, and Sally Field.
In The Amazing Spider-Man™ 2, for Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), life is busy – between taking out the bad guys as Spider-Man and spending time with the person he loves, Gwen (Emma Stone), high school graduation can’t come quickly enough. Peter hasn’t forgotten about the promise he made to Gwen’s father to protect her by staying away – but that’s a promise he just can’t keep. Things will change for Peter when a new villain, Electro (Jamie Foxx), emerges, an old friend, Harry Osborn (Dane DeHaan), returns, and Peter uncovers new clues about his past.
The film is directed by Marc Webb from a screenplay by Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jeff Pinkner, with a previous draft by James Vanderbilt, and based on the Marvel Comic Book by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are the producers.
The film’s key behind-the-scenes team includes director of photography Dan Mindel, production designer Mark Friedberg, editors Pietro Scalia and Elliot Graham, and costume designer Deborah L. Scott.
— Marc Webb (@MarcW) February 5, 2013
That decision makes sense from a business perspective, since post-converting to 3D ought to be cheaper than filming it proper for the stereoscopic format (hence, Marvel is releasing all Phase II installments in post-converted 3D). It also means Webb can take 3D into account while shooting, which gives the Spider-Man sequel advantage over other impending blockbusters with 3D incorporated after the fact (see: Guillermo del Toro's Pacific Rim).
Webb made effective use of 3D at certain times in Amazing Spider-Man, but there were also numerous instances that felt too conventional in their construction (see: the crane-swinging sequence in the third act). In other words, this doesn't seem like a huge loss, seeing how it frees up the director to be more expressive with the cinematography than 3D cameras allow. Not to mention: now you can skimp on paying the 3D surcharge and still feel like you're getting the complete experience.
Amazing Spider-Man 2 (rumored to be called The Spectacular Spider-Man) is also shaping up well in front of the camera, with Garfield returning as Peter Parker and Stone back as Gwen Stacy. Joining the real-life couple are up-and-comers Dane DeHaan (Chronicle), Shailene Woodley (The Descendants) and Felicity Jones (Like Crazy) - playing teen Harry Osborn, Mary Jane Watson and a mystery character (for the time being, that is). Meanwhile, Oscar-nominee Paul Giamatti is Rhino and Oscar-winner Jamie Foxx is portraying a different version of Electro than some comic books readers might've expected.
That's to say: the pieces are in place for Webb to deliver the Spider-Man movie he wanted to make the first time around, with more creative control and a non-origins story co-scripted by Alex Kurtzman and Roberto Orci (Star Trek Into Darkness). Couple all that with Webb's newfound experience from working on Amazing Spider-Man, and we anticipate a noticeable uptick in overall quality on this particular superhero sequel.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (or whatever it's called) opens in theaters on May 2nd, 2014.Disney’s Mulan Star Sparks Controversy By Supporting Hong Kong Police
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