Well, this ain't good. This past weekend, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 opened to a tidy $92 million. Those are monstrous numbers, sure, only a whisker below Captain America: The Winter Soldier for the year's biggest opening. And overseas, the numbers are robust, a possible threat to $500 million if the pace continues, and anytime your film can approach half-a-billion outside of America, it's impressive.
But a closer look reveals that Sony has trotted Spider-Man out five times thus far, and these last two films show a downtrend. The $92 million take severely trails not only the monster opening of 2007's Spider-Man 3 but even the $115 million scored by Sam Raimi's non-3D Spider-Man on the same weekend twelve years ago. The Amazing Spider-Man was the lowest grossing film of the series, and this next one might perform even weaker, despite the boost received from the biggest box office weekend of the year.
This bodes poorly for Sony's plans, give that there is a third and fourth film in this series scheduled for 2016 and 2018, and intentions for spinoff Venom and Sinister Six movies in the coming years. The studio has crowed about having a Spidey movie every year, with some at the studio expecting a billion dollar global gross for this entry. Clearly that's not going to be the case at all, and Sony needs to examine their options if they want the wallcrawler to remain viable. So, what can they do? Here are 5 bold options:
Option 1: Stay The CourseSony's got four more prospective blockbusters coming down the pike, four more movies with Spidey that can make half-a-billion worldwide each, at least. But it's suggested that Amazing Spider-Man 2 cost $250 million, with an additional $180 million spent on marketing. If those numbers are accurate, then the new film would have to gross in the neighborhood of $800 million worldwide to generate theatrical profit. Fortunately, while it will probably fall short of that benchmark, the film will ultimately register solid numbers in ancillary markets, like TV deals and merchandising.
So smart business says that there's still plenty of life in Spider-Man. It's worth noting that the original plan for The Amazing Spider-Man was to make a much smaller, more intimate picture that would cost far less than the mega-budget Sam Raimi films. There's no reason they still can't try that: there are sets and animatics already designed from these previous Spidey films, and a bit of added fiscal responsibility can get the budget underneath $200 million. If Amazing Spider-Man 2 cost, say, $180 million to produce (the usual budget for Marvel's films over at Disney) and something like $140 million to promote, then it would only need to approach $600 million to break-even, a number the movie should surpass soon.
Yes, it's a bit implausible that future Spider-Man films could be that much cheaper than the recent entry, but Hollywood makes scads of blockbusters each year at a more responsible cost. Heck, Michael Bay has brought each apocalyptic Transformers movie in underneath $200 million thus far, and it seems far more complicated to put the Autobots onscreen than it does a skinny guy in full-bodied pajamas swinging around the city. With no real above-the-line talent aboard these films (compared to Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst, who negotiated for top dollar in the earlier films), having these pictures cost so much is downright irresponsible. This enterprise can continue with a little less money and a little bit more ingenuity.