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Confirmed: SPIDER-MAN 4 Swings Into A Brick Wall! May 11, 2011 Release Date Currently In Jeopardy!

Beaks here...

Three weeks ago, just before the holiday break, broke the news that SPIDER-MAN 4 was being delayed indefinitely due to a substantial difference of opinion between director Sam Raimi and Sony Pictures on the direction (and the quality) of the screenplay. Sony initially denied this, but, today, the studio is croonin' a different tune: SPIDER-MAN 4 is on hold, and, according to Nikki Finke's source(s), will not be ready to go before cameras this spring. This means you can forget about the film being ready for May 11, 2011. Though Finke (who is good and sourced up - and, some might argue, sympathetic - with Sony) is leaving open the possibility that an as-yet-undelivered draft from two-time Oscar-winner Alvin Sargent might get the project moving forward again (he received screenwriting credits on the last two Spidey flicks), HitFix's Drew McWeeny sounds a little less optimistic. Sez Drew:
Since that first story ran, I've been hearing some really terrible things about what's going on between Sam Raimi, the studio, and the writers, and I've been starting to wonder if there's any chance they can reach an agreement that will make all involved parties happy.
Sargent is the fourth official writer on SPIDER-MAN 4, following A-listers Jamie Vanderbilt, David Lindsay-Abaire and Gary Ross. As for the status of John Malkovich and Anne Hathaway being cast as the film's villains, Raimi is reportedly still hot for Malkovich; Hathaway, on the other hand, would cost more than the studio is willing to spend. Seeing as how the series' most effective baddies have been played by respected (and comparably inexpensive) character actors like Alfred Molina and Thomas Haden Church (whose Sandman was easily the best thing about the third film), it's hard to argue with the studio's position on this. When it comes to which villains get worked into the narrative, however, I'll 100% side with Raimi - if only because we've seen what happens when he's forced to deal with a character he flat-out doesn't like (i.e. Venom). As an unabashed fan of two-thirds of the series, I hope Raimi and the screenwriters and the studio manage to resolve their differences and move forward. That said, if it becomes a question of making a release date rather than a movie, I'd prefer for everyone to part ways and call it a day on this iteration of the web-slinger's big-screen adventures - which, it seems, is a distinct possibility. There are already rumblings that this delay has much, if not everything, to do with Sony angling for a 3-D SPIDER-MAN 4. Rest assured that the issue right now is the script - but I wouldn't be surprised if, in the interim, the studio makes a rather strident case for 3-D.

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