The fourth instalment in the highly awaited Spider-Man franchise will release in 2012 without actor Tobey Maguire in the lead and filmmaker Sam Raimi behind the megaphone, a sthey have quit over reported script issues.
Earlier slated for a 2011 release, the movie is still to go into production and the next instalment will now deal with a teenager Peter Parker (the protagonist) in high school dealing with both contemporary human problems and superhuman crises.
American screenwriter James Vanderbilt has already written a script for the alternative, which will be produced by Marvel Comics head Avi Arad and movie mogul Laura Ziskin.
"Spider-Man will always be an important franchise for Sony Pictures and a fresh start like this is a responsibility that we all take very seriously," Michael Lynton, chairman and CEO, Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE), the producers and distributors of the franchise, said in a statement.Added Amy Pascal, co-chairman, SPE: "Peter Parker as an ordinary young adult grappling with extraordinary powers has always been the foundation that has made this character so timeless and compelling for generations of fans. We're very excited about the creative possibilities that come from returning to Peter's roots and we look forward to working once again with Marvel Studios, Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin on this new beginning."
Matt Tolmach, president of Columbia Pictures, another arm of SPE, who served as the studio's chief production executive since the beginning of the franchise, also echoed the same.
"Now everything begins anew, and that's got us all tremendously excited about what comes next. Under the continuing supervision of Avi and Laura, we have a clear vision for the future of Spider-Man and can't wait to share this exciting new direction with audiences in 2012," said Tolmach.
Raimi, who publicly expressed his dislike for the idea behind Spider-Man 4, however, said: "Working on the 'Spider-Man' movies was the experience of a lifetime for me. While we were looking forward to doing a fourth one together, the studio and Marvel have a unique opportunity to take the franchise in a new direction, and I know they will do a terrific job."
A new director and star will be announced in the coming weeks.