Years before the MCU films dominated the box office, Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy did the same, in many ways helping to initially solidify the superhero genre as a huge moneymaker, along with Bryan Singer's X-Men movies. Raimi's first two films are still widely considered some of the greatest comic book-based movies of all-time, and both made big profits too, earning $821 million worldwide on a budget of $139 million, and $783 million worldwide on a budget of $200 million, respectively.
Unfortunately, for all the money 2007's Spider-Man 3 made - and it made a ton, hauling in nearly $900 million worldwide on a budget of $258 million - it quickly became the laughingstock of the series, with an overstuffed plot full of villains, and an underwhelming take on the classic Venom symbiote story. Sony proceeded to take five years off from the franchise, returning in 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man, which drew criticism for redoing the character's origin story so soon after Raimi's original. 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 did little to salvage things.
Thankfully, Sony then realized that NYC's resident web-slinger was in desperate need of an cinematic revamp, and took that opportunity to finally broker a deal to make Spider-Man part of the now established MCU juggernaut. Spider-Man's introduction in Captain America: Civil War was received with widespread praise, and there is massive excitement for his upcoming solo film Spider-Man: Homecoming. Venom also looks set to be rehabilitated soon, as Sony recently announced a brand new solo film for him as well. However, those hoping for Venom to also be a part of the MCU will be disappointed to read what Homecoming director Jon Watts recently had to say to Fandango:
Fandango: Sony just announced a Venom movie – is that connected to your film at all?
Watts: It’s not. It’s not connected to the Marvel world, so that’s really intriguing… what that will be. I don’t know anything about it. It’s not connected, so there’s not that overlap. I’m only focused on my movie right now."
Despite its setbacks attempting to depict the popular Venom character back in the Raimi era, it appears that Sony is still entrenched in the mindset that they don't need Marvel Studios' help to do him justice on-screen. If Venom's solo movie won't be tied to the MCU canon, that also sadly seems to rule out Venom appearing in one of Spider-Man's MCU solo films, which is sure to disappoint fans of both characters.
While it's understandable from a business standpoint why Sony would want to keep some aspect of the Marvel universe exclusively to itself, one wonders if not having Venom rest in the welcoming arms of the MCU will turn out to be a big creative mistake in the long run. Either way though, one hopes that they at least cast someone more appropriate than Topher Grace to play him this time.
- Venom (2018) release date: Oct 05, 2018