Here’s Why Hollywood Will Never Stop Making Spider-Man Movies

In July, superhero fans will be treated to the sixth Spider-Man movie in just 15 years. Spider-Man: Homecoming, which stars Tom Holland, might be the tipping point for superhero saturation. (Actually, maybe that was 2012 reboot The Amazing Spider-Man.) But there’s a good reason Sony keeps churning out movies about Peter Parker, the teen bitten by a radioactive spider who must learn that “with great power comes great responsibility.

The character swung into the comics in 1962 when Stan Lee and Steve Ditko decided the world was ready for a teenage protagonist who wasn’t just the sidekick. The nerdy Peter Parker appealed to adolescent and adult readers alike: unlike the super-rich Iron Man or actual god Thor, Parker is just in high school. He’s an orphan trying to balance his schoolwork and crushes with his radioactive spider-induced growing pains and crime-fighting hobbies. His development from shy, floundering teen into wisecracking superhero follows a classic bildungsroman structure that lends itself well to the silver screen.

The first three Spider-Man from the early 2000s, which set a high bar for the many superhero movies that followed, ensnared new fans in Spidey’s web. Now, Sony and Marvel Studios have teamed up to make Homecoming, brokering a rare deal between two major studios to revitalize a popular but flagging character. Here’s how it happened.

We can’t get enough of Spidey

Back in 1999 nary a superhero could be found in the summer cinema. (Among the top-grossing films that year: the first Star Wars prequel, The Sixth SenseThe Matrix and the Austin Powers sequel.) Marvel was struggling financially and sold off the movie rights to its most valuable properties: Spider-Man, X-Men and the Fantastic Four. This sale is arguably the origin of the franchise frenzy we’re living in today: Fox got the X-Men and spun it into a massive franchise. (Fox’s Fantastic Four franchises were less successful.) Sony snagged Spider-Man and made three well-received movies directed by Sam Raimi and starring Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst in the early 2000s. A fourth Raimi film starring Maguire was eventually scrapped.

That might have been the last we saw of Spidey. But then Marvel Studios struck gold with the first Iron Man movie in 2008, which became the bedrock of what would be a massive, character-driven empire. (Marvel was also bought by Disney.) Other studios began to mimic Marvel’s strategy, but Sony only held the rights to Spider-Man.

Reasoning that Spider-Man has everlasting appeal — the way James Bondcontinues to thrive despite the proliferation of onscreen spies — Sony decided to reboot Spidey, slap “amazing” in front of the character’s name and cast Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone. (Instead of Mary Jane, Stone plays Gwen Stacey, Peter’s earlier love interest in the comic books.)

More Details @ Time

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