[UPDATE: Sony is denying this rumor. Details Below. ]
The very title of this article - whether it proves to be 100% false or not - should be clear indication of what kind of mess Sony's Spider-Man franchise is in. The fact that this idea of an Aunt May Movie is even a plausible talking point is bad - but here goes.
In a new report, Latino Review claims that Sony is - as stated - thinking of making a movie based on Spider-Man character Aunt May. The movie would be set in the past (Mad Men is name-dropped for comparison) and detail how the Amazing Spider-Man version of Aunt May (played by Sally Field) was actually a spy in her youth. This would be, of course, a totally new backstory for the Aunt May character - because nothing like this has ever been done in Spider-Man comics, which have gone to some pretty whacky places in their own right.
The most obvious reasoning behind this move would be for Sony to once again find a way to ride the trending wave in superhero moviedom, on the back of their sole franchise player. Amazing Spider-Man came when franchises like X-Men (First Class) and Superman (Man of Steel) were getting makeovers; Amazing Spider-Man 2 tried to get in on the shared universe expansion of DC, X-Men and Marvel's big phase 2 blowout; and now that diversity hires and villain stories are en vogue, we've been not-so-coincedentally been hearing about Sinister Six and female-led films out of the Spidey universe.
You see the pattern, but the problem in that pattern remains just as apparent: None of these Spider-Man projects generates the interest or positive reaction necessary to bank additional big tentpole films based on this franchise universe. While Marvel is executing huge Phase 3 announcement events, and DC is dropping release date master plans in board meetings, Sony is stumbling through half-attempts at every new idea on the smorgasbord.
It's safe to say that the best prospect fans have heard is the studio finally lending Spider-Man to the Marvel Cinematic Universe for something like the upcoming "Civil War" storyline. If that's the case - and the alternative is getting an Aunt May spy movie as an attempt to counteract Marvel's Agent Carter TV Miniseries - then why even discuss lending the character out anymore? If we're talking about Aunt May movies as possibly the next big Spider-Man thing, then it's time to side with the fanboys: Sell that character back to Marvel.
Make the cost huge, take a merchandising cut if you can, and get out of the quagmire. While the billions Marvel would (will) make off the character (his movies, crossovers, and merchandising) may cause a sting in pride, it won't be as bad as the crippling pain of pouring hundreds of millions into slowly failing movies that eventually force you to sell, anyway.
There are other comic book properties out there just waiting to be the next big Guardians of the Galaxy - go talk to the non-Marvel, non-DC publishers. Otherwise, right now, Spider-Man is quickly becoming that toy the stingy kid on the playground won't let anyone else touch; but stingy kid can't find a game to play alone with his solitary toy. We all know how that childishness ends....
Stay tuned for more eye-roll-worthy RUMORS from the Sony Spider-Man universe to come at us soon - and until then, enjoy these RUMORS:
- Spider-Man's headed to the MCU
- Gwen Stacy's coming back
- All-Female team-up film
- Sinister Six is a Spidey Soft Reboot with new Spidey
- Venom Movie DEAD
[Update: Sony has offered a comment to CBR, claiming that the reported project is simply a "silly rumor" that carries "no validity whatsoever."]
Sinister Six will be in theaters on November 11, 2016 (maybe???)