It was previously thought that Amazing Spider-Man 3 would be the next Spider-Man movie to hit theaters, but about a month ago a report emerged, claiming that Sony now intends to release the film no sooner than 2017. It's now starting to look more and more like there's a fire behind all this smoke, as Amazing Spider-Man 2 co-writer/producer Roberto Orci has revealed that he's currently not "officially involved" with TASM3 - even though Sony previously announced that he is part of the "brain trust" for the Spider-Man franchise (and was co-writing the third installment).
Orci is currently working on the script for the next Star Trek movie (which he is expected to make his directorial debut), in order to have the film ready to hit theaters by 2016 - the 50th anniversary of the Star Trek property. As such, it doesn't come as a huge surprise to learn that Orci's (as he told IGN) "not officially involved" with the third Amazing Spider-Man film right now, since his Trek duties are likely taking up the majority of his work schedule right now.
What is surprising, however, is that Orci doesn't appear to know much about Sony's plans in general for the future of the Spider-Man movies. As mentioned before, there've been rumors about the studio changing course a bit, with regard to its plans to build a Shared Film Universe around Andrew Garfield's Peter Parker - in response to Amazing Spider-Man 2's lukewarm critical reception and, more important from a business perspective, the diminishing box office returns for the last two Spider-Man installments. At the same time though, as Orci told IGN, Spider-Man's just too big an intellectual property to fall by the wayside entirely.
"I don't know what their plans are for that franchise. I don't ever want to say never, but we have to figure out what their scheduling is in terms of when they want each movie. I've read probably as much as anyone else. There's a love for the Sinister Six, the idea of Venom -- there's an idea of Spider-Man's going to be one of these characters that's part of our business. He's such a popular character. Spider-Man's not going to go away any time soon. When it all happens and how and all that has yet to be determined."
So, if not Amazing Spider-Man 3, then what may instead come next for the Spider-Man franchise? Well, Amazing Spider-Man 2 did lay the foundation for the villain teamup movie that is Sinister Six - a project that looks to be moving forward sooner than later (possibly shooting as early as January 2015), given that writer/director Drew Goddard recently stepped down as the show runner for Marvel Studios' Daredevil series, in order to concentrate his efforts on the aforementioned Spider-Man spinoff.
As we've mentioned before, releasing Sinister Six before Amazing Spider-Man 3 is a move that could benefit both films, from an artistic perspective. The latter would thus be free to jump head-first into relatively unexplored story territory for a comic book movie (telling a tale about a bunch of super-powered villain trying to work together), while the latter wouldn't have to be saddled with "shared universe building," like its predecessors were. Indeed, just as rumor has it that Warner Bros. and DC are straying away from Marvel Studios' film release strategy with the upcoming DC movie slate, Sony would probably have a better shot at keeping up in the superhero movie game by changing its approach on the Spider-Man series.
Moreover, such superhero movie heavyweights as Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice, X-Men: Apocalypse, and Captain America 3 are all scheduled to arrive in the Summer 2016 Movie Season - meaning, Sony might feel it's time to pull out the big guns and release an "event" film like Sinister Six than year, while saving the next Amazing Spider-Man movie for a later date, such as 2017 (or maybe the 2018 date that it currently has reserved for a Spider-Man film).
There's also the Venom movie that's in some stage of early development - from Amazing Spider-Man 2 cowriter/producer Alex Kurtzman - that needs to be taken into consideration here. In short: we hope to soon have some concrete information instead of speculation and relatively vague comments, regarding what Sony has in mind so as to allow Spidey and his "friends" to keep up with the other superhero characters out there (and their respective tentpoles).
Until we hear otherwise, though, The Amazing Spider-Man 3 remains tentatively scheduled to hit theaters on June 10th, 2016.
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