Sony’s Bug Problem


And while spiders are arachnids, not bugs, bear with me and all come clear.

Spider-Man: Homecoming makes its North American debut today, and some pundits believe that it will ensnare an opening somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million.  If this bears out it would make the movie the fourth of 2017–joining Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 and Wonder Woman–to reach that milestone.

Though–at least at the moment–Sony only plans to work with Marvel Studios on Homecoming and its sequel, and that’s problematic not only for that reason, but because they’re also planning movies based on Venom, Silver Sable and the Black Cat, all outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe (known as the MCU).

This is a terrible idea because one of the reasons Spider-Man: Honecoming is projected to do as well as it is is because Spider-Man is returning to the MCU, which people are interested in seeing, while Sony’s upcoming movies will likely not have this version of Spider-Man, if any at all.

As I said, it’s a problem because you’re not only taking away the context that Venom currently exists in–which is the MCU–you’re potentially taking away the reason Venom himself exists (the symbiont originally chose to bond with Spider-Man.  Only when it was rejected by him did it turn its attentions to Eddie Brock).

So Venom (as well as Silver Sable, Black Cat and whichever other Spiderverse characters they intend to use) existing outside the MCU is problematic.

Though without Spider-Man?

That’s more than a problem; that’s a disaster for Sony.  For Marvel?

Not so much, especially when you take into account that while they never actually needed Spider-Man he’s back (albeit temporarily) and the MCU version has appeared in Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming and with three movies on the way (Avengers: Infinity War, an untitled Avengers movie as well as a sequel to Homecoming).

If Sony were smart–or smarter, after all they did have the foresight to cut this deal with Marvel Studios–they would ensure that the Spiderverse remain in the MCU with a deal a similar to that that they reached with Spider-Man (which would probably have Marvel Studios getting a cut of the box office, perhaps in exchange for contributing to the costs of production).

It’s certainly worth a thought.

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Trailer 3

Cutting an effective trailer is a strange mix of art and science and too much of either can ruin it.

And they’re more important than you think.

Part of what saved Suicide Squad was the  trailer, which (unfortunatel) made promises the movie itself didn’t quite live up to, was so well-received by movie goers.

By the same token, they can give away plot points that might better be left uNSAIDs (such as when Doomsday was revealed in the Batman V Superman: Dawn Of Justice trailer).

Though just so no one thinks I am picking on the DCEU, there was a scene from the first Avengers when the Hulk saves Iron Man, who’s falling after having ‘delivered’ a nuclear weapon to the Chtauri.

It wasn’t a spoiler but it did reveal a scene that would have been better served seen first in the context of the movie.

And speaking of ‘scenes that would have been better served seen first in the context of the movie’ the trailers for Marvel Studios/Sony Pictures Spider-Man: Homecoming haven’t crossed the line into spoiler territory, but they have revealed moments that would perhaps be better served by not beight first seen in the trailer.

Such as learning that Spidey’s uniform is filled to the gills with Stark-tech.


It doesn’t break the movie to learn this in advance–besides, hints were laid out in Captain  America: Civil War that this is not your father’s Spider-Man costume, so it wasn’t a huge reach.

THough it would have still been a pleasant surprise NOT to know about it ahead of time.

Will Kraven the Hunter Appear in the Spider-Man: Homecoming Sequel?

Ben Affleck originally planned to star, write (with Geoff Johns) and direct a solo Batman movie for Warner Bros and DC Entertainment though he eventually decided to step down from the latter (it’s believed that he did so because Warner Bros was insistent that he make a 2018 release date, which he felt he could not do if he were to maintain the quality fans of the franchise had come to expect) and was replaced by Matt Reeves.

And when a new director comes onto a project–especially one in as strong a bargaining position as Reeves–they tend to rewrite a project, as opposed to going with the script that was already in place.

This means that much of what had been in Affleck and John’s screenplay will more than likely be discarded (though whomever does a rewrite could use the Affleck and Johns screenplay as a starting point).

Supposedly, the villain in the original screenplay was  Deathstroke, who was going to be played by Joe Manganiello.

Now let’s for a moment look at another franchise, namely Sony Pictures/Marvel Studios upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming.  

The third iteration of Marvel Comics venerable wall crawler will premier in theaters in 2018 though producers have said that they’re avoiding using villains from he earlier movies–which despite their iconic status makes a lot of sense–which means that it’s unlikely we’ll see the Green Goblin, the Lizard, Dr. Octopus, Sandman, Venom (and speaking of Venom, that’s a special case that I cover on my Screenphiles YouTube channel) or Electro.

Which means that villains that we have had yet to see will be appearing in Spider-Man: Homecoming–such as the Vulture, Tinkerer and Shocker–and its sequels.

Such as Kraven the Hunter

One of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes–created by Stan Lee and Stece Ditko and who first appeared in The Amazing Spider-Man #15–Kraven sought to defeat Spidey because he believed himself to be the world’s greatest hunter, though that’s not the only reason Kraven comes to mind as the next villain to menace Tom Holland’s Spider-Man because if you recall I mentioned Joe Manganiello a few paragraphs ago?  Well, here’s where things get interesting.

Here’s a picture of Manganiello.

And while I have no idea if there’s room in his schedule to play Kraven–nor that the villain is even being considered–there are few roles that an actor is so perfectly suited to play.

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Trailer 2

Before I begin I should mention that I intend to stop posting teaser trailers (unaccompanied by a full trailer) because the former tends to give so little in the way of information that’s it’s almost pointless.

This way at you get the teaser AND the full trailer at the same time, which as far as I am concerned makes more sense and gives the reader more bang for the buck.

So on to the review.  The first thing I should mention is that I hate the blazer Spidey wears on the Spider-Man: Homecoming poster.  It mildly irritates me and feels too Hardy Potter-ish (in terms of tone).

In any case, the second trailer for dropped yesterday, and it did what I thought was unlikely, which was to re-ignite my interest in the third reboot of the property.

With Spider-Man: Homecoming Marvel Studios has managed to do what none of the other movies had done prior, which is to take Peter Parker back to high school, though the casting of an actor that makes that a visually viable move (and that’s not a knock against either Toby Maguire or Andrew Gairfield more than an acknowledgement that both actors were too old–and what’s worse, looked it–to play high school students).

And while Tom Holland–despite being in his mid-twenties–looks six of eight years younger, making it a perfect fit for him.

Then there’s dollops of the sense of wonder that often accompanies a young person as they discover the world around them in new and fascinating ways.

And I am reasonably sure Spider-Man: Homecoming will be a bright spot for a studio–Sony Pictures–that could use a few.

Spider-Man: Homecoming – Teaser Trailer 2

I absolutely can’t stand teaser trailers (or ‘Sneak Peeks,’ or whatever the hell some marketing department chooses to call them). They’re like regular trailers, except they give you even less information, which virtually by definition makes them very, very frustrating.

The latest teaser from Spider-Man: Homecoming is no different in that we see Spider-Man clinging to the side of the Washington Monument, when there’s a flyby of an object (which I originally assumed was the Vulture but seeing it was way too small makes it likely that what quickly crossed the screen was a bit of StarkTech (perhaps some sort of drone that Spidey could control).

Other than that, nothing.

Justice League did the same thing just last week (and if was pretty irritating then, too).

Here’s to this irritating trend quickly.

There’s No Anti-Venom For Dumb

According to The Wrap Sony is releasing a movie based on Venom–last seen in Sam Raimi’s 2007’s Spider-Man 3, which I will return to shortly–October 5th of 2018.

The ‘dumb’ is that this version of Venom will apparently  exist independently of Marvel Studios’ upcoming Spider-Man: Homecoming which is a bit odd since Venom was introduced in Spider-Man’s comic, so to not have these two characters interact with each other is a bit odd.

Now, let’s go back to Sam Raimi and Spider-Man 3.

Supposedly, he was so pissed with Avi Arad–a producer of the upcoming Venom movie with Matt Tolmack–for forcing him to put Venom in Spider-Man 3 that he hired Topher Grace to play the symbiont’s host (the implication being that that was the opposite of what Arad wanted).

And it leaked out, if I recall during the hack that put all of Sony’s business out for everyone to see, that Marvel Studios taking the reigns of the Spider-Man franchise was conditional on Avi Arad NOT being involved (it wasn’t the only condition, but it was an important one).

So now Sony is putting Venom–a character that exists in the Spider-Man universe–in the hands of Avi Arad; the guy responsible for overstuffing Spider-Man 3, and whom irritated  Kevin Feige (who appears to be a very easy-going guy) so much that Marvel Studios riding in and essentially saving Sony’s bacon was conditional on him not being involved.

Yeah, this is going to work out just fine.

Stop Implying Nefarious Motives For Ghostbusters (2016) Box Office Performance

Screenshot 2016-08-11 17.23.06For a movie who’s job was to reboot a blatantly uncontroversial movie, the 2016 reboot of Ivan Reitman’s Ghostbusters proved remarkably controversial.

And while I’d rather not rehash the whole  debate, I was reading a story from Brett White from Comicbookresources‘ Spinoff Online, where he draws a comparison between the way numerous movies are treated; commenting upon which get a sequel, and which don’t.

One of the points he raises is how Ghostbusters is doing better than numerous other movies from a financial standpoint, such as Star Trek: Beyond, at a comparable time and yet while that latter is apparently receiving a sequel yet Ghostbusters isn’t.

Though there are problems with White’s logic.

First, just because a studio says that a movie is getting a sequel doesn’t make it so. I mention this because Star Trek: Beyond has earned just over $198 million, which means that despite Paramount saying that there will be one doesn’t mean that there will actually be the case (and if its box office doesn’t increase significantly before it leaves theaters, the likelihood of that diminish accordingly).

Second, he makes a comparison between the box office of Ghostbusters and X-Men: Apocalypse but that’s a problematic comparison at best because the latter movie has earned over $534 million during it’s theatrical run, on a budget of $178 million.

So, despite the relatively weak legs of Fox’s X-movie it’s made enough to get a sequel.  If Ghostbusters had earned as much–legs or no legs–then it would as well.

Though it hasn’t.

And that’s not to say that there weren’t bad actors on Sony’s side as well as the fan community, but when all is said and done–despite all the mud-slinging and vitriol–if Ghostbusters were profitable, then who said what to whom would be irrelevant.