Sony to develop a shared Spider-Man movie universe with VENOM and SINISTER SIX movies on the way

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It feels like Oprah is running Hollywood at the moment, because right now it’s a case of “You get a shared movie universe! You get a shared movie universe! EVERYBODY GETS A SHARED MOVIE UNIVERSE!!” And the latest to adopt the game plan that Marvel Studios popularized is Sony, who have now announced that they will be developing movies based on Spider-Man villains, Venom and The Sinister Six, which will spin off of their Amazing Spider-Man franchise.

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And as if that wasn’t big enough news on its own – especially the Venom announcement, which had been rumoured for ages – Sony is also putting together quite the dream team to pull this whole endeavour off.  Sony is taking another page from Marvel’s book, but this time they’re borrowing from the comic book publishing side of the business. Much like when Marvel Comics relaunched the “Amazing Spider-Man” comic book a few years back, Sony will be putting together a Spider-Man “brain trust” who will oversee and develop these projects. Said brain trust consists of director Marc Webb (The Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2), writer/director Drew Goddard (Cabin in the Woods, Iron Man 3, Cloverfield), writer/director Alex Kurtzman (Star Trek franchise, Transformers franchise, Fringe), writer Roberto Orci (Star Trek franchise, Transformers franchise, Fringe), writer Jeff Pinkner (Fringe, Almost Human) and writer Ed Solomon (Men in Black, Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure).

Kurtzman, Orci and Pinkner are already writing The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which Webb will probably direct, but after that the plan is for Kurtzman, Orci and Solomon to pen a Venom screenplay, which Kurtzman will direct, while Goddard will write and direct a Sinister Six film, which is now believed to perhaps be taking the place of the originally planned fourth Amazing Spider-Man film (So maybe Andrew Garfield was right after all). Based on the clues and characters already attached to the franchise, I’d be guessing that the lineup for the Sinister Six would consist of Green Goblin, Rhino, Electro, Vulture, Doctor Octopus and possibly either Hydro Man or Shocker (based on some clues on the Daily Bugle viral website). Personally, I would love it though if either Kraven the Hunter or Mysterio got given the nod.

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Whoever ends up on the roster, I have to admit that branching off like this to give the villains (or carnivorous anti-hero in Venom’s case) the spotlight is certainly a very risky move, but it does go a long way to explain all the black hats in Amazing Spider-Man 2. In a reaction to fans’ concerns that the film is being overloaded with bad guys (and the various Easter Eggs already spotted hinting at even more characters), Webb has been saying all along that Jamie Foxx’s Electro is the central antagonist, the others are just there to build the world. And now we have a much clearer picture of just what that world is going to look like.

Sony hasn’t mentioned any timelines for these productions though, but with The Amazing Spider-Man 3 (which will probably introduce some more characters) only scheduled to hit in mid-2016, it’s still going to be some time before we see any of this come to pass. So now we have to just sit back and see whether Sony has the stones to make a hard R Venom movie, because really that’s what we all want, right?

Here’s the full press release:

CULVER CITY, Calif., December 12, 2013 – In a move to forge a new legacy in the story of Peter Parker on screen, Sony Pictures Entertainment, in association with Marvel Entertainment, is developing several new projects in the Spider-Man franchise, with Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon, and Drew Goddard to collaborate on overseeing the developing story over several films that will be produced by Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, it was announced today by Doug Belgrad,president of Columbia Pictures, and Hannah Minghella, president of Production for the studio.

The five writers, along with the two producers and Marc Webb, have formed a franchise brain trust to expand the universe for the brand and to develop a continuous tone and thread throughout the films. Under the deals, the studio announced that Kurtzman & Orci & Pinkner are writing the screenplay for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, which the studio hopes Webb will return to direct; the film will go into production next fall for release on June 10, 2016. In addition, the team will build on the cinematic foundation laid by Webb, Arad, and Tolmach in the first two movies. They will expand the franchise as Kurtzman & Orci & Solomon will write the screenplay for Venom, which Kurtzman will direct; also, Goddard will write, with an eye to direct, The Sinister Six, focusing on the villains in the franchise. Hannah Minghella and Rachel O’Connor will oversee the development and production of these films for the studio.

In tapping these five writers, the studio and the producers are guiding the future of the franchise with the writer/producers who have each played significant and key roles in developing such highly successful franchises, films, and series as Star Trek, Transformers, “Alias,” “Fringe,” Men in Black”, “Bill & Ted’s Excellent Adventure”, “World War Z,” “Lost,” Cloverfield, The Cabin in the Woods, and Marvel’s upcoming “Daredevil” series.

Commenting on the announcement, Belgrad said, “The Spider-Man film franchise is one of our studio’s greatest assets. We are thrilled with the creative team we have assembled to delve more deeply into the world that Marc, Avi and Matt have begun to explore in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. We believe that Marc, Alex, and Drew have uniquely exciting visions for how to expand the Spider-Man universe in each of these upcoming films.” Arad and Tolmach added, “This collaboration was born out of the great experience we and Marc had working with Alex, Bob, and Jeff on The Amazing Spider-Man 2. With more than fifty years’ wealth of stories in the comic books to draw upon for inspiration, the Spider-Man universe is truly boundless; in addition, the Spider-Man comics have the greatest rogues gallery of any series, and to have the chance to explore that on film is truly thrilling. Until now, we have approached each film as a separate, self-contained entity, but with this move, we have the opportunity to grow the franchise by looking to the future as we develop a continuous arc for the story. That is what Alex, Bob, Jeff, Ed, and Drew will do in this unprecedented collaboration, and we’re excited about the directions they are taking the character and the world.”

The most successful franchise in the history of Columbia Pictures, Spider-Man is embraced all over the world. The four Spider-Man films to date have taken in over $3.2 billion worldwide.

Last Updated: December 13, 2013

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