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Updated:Confirmed: Spidey 4 dead, Raimi and Maguire out and Studio going reboot route.

Harry here and whilst I've been about doing Yoko Birthday shopping - I've received a couple of communiques from a variety of sources via the magic of our digitally wireless age. The word is the Peter/MJ developments involved a "stork". Now, I doubt seriously a STORK was involved, but I think that crap was code for BABY, which makes my sphincter push out diamonds. Another longtime source told me we should collectively sigh a big sigh of relief, apparently the script and story were legendarily awful. I also chatted with James Cameron back at Comic Con last year about SPIDER-MAN. And yes, Drew McWeeny is online talking about anyone that thinks Cameron could possibly be interested in SPIDER-MAN still is ... well, I can't remember the colorful metaphor that Drew attached, but it was this side of "fucking retarded". Well, Jim still had the fire for Spidey back when I chatted with him. He seemed to have a regret, and wasn't intimidated in the least by the films that have come forward. He felt that nobody anywhere was prepared for what he would have done with Spidey. SO... Marvel... Sony... Give him a call. You'll never know unless you ask. That said, I wonder how long between Spidey films it takes for rights to revert to MARVEL? If we're getting close, we'll get something rushed, if not - They should take their time.

Quint here again. The studio has put out a press release. Finke and Fleming were on target, it seems. Here's the release:
Culver City, CA (January 11, 2010) -- Peter Parker is going back to high school when the next Spider-Man hits theaters in the summer of 2012. Columbia Pictures and Marvel Studios announced today they are moving forward with a film based on a script by James Vanderbilt that focuses on a teenager grappling with both contemporary human problems and amazing super-human crises. The new chapter in the Spider-Man franchise produced by Columbia, Marvel Studios and Avi Arad and Laura Ziskin, will have a new cast and filmmaking team. Spider-Man 4 was to have been released in 2011, but had not yet gone into production. “A decade ago we set out on this journey with Sam Raimi and Tobey Maguire and together we made three Spider-Man films that set a new bar for the genre. When we began, no one ever imagined that we would make history at the box-office and now we have a rare opportunity to make history once again with this franchise. 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,” said Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment. “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,” said Sam Raimi. “We have had a once-in-a-lifetime collaboration and friendship with Sam and Tobey and they have given us their best for the better part of the last decade. This is a bittersweet moment for us because while it is hard to imagine Spider-Man in anyone else’s hands, I know that this was a day that was inevitable,” said Matt Tolmach, president of Columbia Pictures, who has served as the studio’s chief production executive since the beginning of the franchise. “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.” "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," said Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures. "We have always believed that story comes first and story guides the direction of these films and as we move onto the next chapter, we will stay true to that principle and will do so with the highest respect for the source material and the fans and moviegoers who deserve nothing but the best when it comes to bringing these stories and characters to life on the big screen."

Yeah, it's all very political. Peter's a high-schooler again? That might not be a bad thing... I just swear to God I'm going to scream if we have another hour of origin story to sit through.

Ahoy, squirts! Quint here. Nikke Finke's a hard one to pin down. With the hiring of Variety's chief scoop-hunter Mike Fleming it'd be hard to argue that duo is anything but a juggernaut of Hollywood insider information. They've been wrong before... Finke recently made a mistake in a recent scoop about a film called NORTHERN LIGHTS where she said Tom Cruise was to play Taylor Lautner's father... Cruise is not involved and she promptly (and without mention) removed the Tom Cruise part of it. But everybody makes mistakes and sometimes things that look like mistakes are really not mistakes, just changes in direction or misinformation (a lot of times intentional). It happens. Finke and Fleming's first big scoop together is a doozy. They're claiming there was a big meeting at Sony today where it was decided to halt Spider-Man 4 after Sam Raimi told them he can't make the release date and make the movie he wants to. Sony decided to reboot the series instead of wait, it seems. What it sounds like to us here at AICN is that Raimi learned a big lesson with the reaction to Spider-Man 3 and he wasn't going to be forced into doing a sequel that wasn't ready and his cast stood behind him. And now it appears Sony thinks the brand is more valuable than Raimi and Tobey Maguire. Yeah, it kind of sucks and I hope that a "reboot" doesn't mean we have to get yet another origin story told, but honestly... if the studio was forcing Raimi in unreasonable ways I'd rather see him and Maguire leave the series than do another Spider-Man 3. Finke and Fleming says James Vanderbilt (Zodiac) will script the reboot. Vanderbilt also did a pass on an earlier draft of Spidey 4 and is attached for further sequels. So, what does this mean? If the studio is smart they'll go after someone like Neill Blomkamp and do for Spider-Man what Warner Bros did for Batman. Blomkamp in particular has proven he can balance visual effects, drama and comedy, which is kind of the perfect match for Spider-Man's adventures. However if Raimi left over creative differences and his inability to compromise with the suits I can't imagine they'd be willing to give an up and comer the freedom he'd need to make a real honest to God awesome Spider-Man movie. Also... please, just continue the series. Don't give us a new Green Goblin/origin retelling. The Incredible Hulk had the right idea, I think. The character is iconic, we just want a good movie. Kraven's Last Hunt, perhaps? Or something totally new... Just no retreads. So, what do you folks think about this development? It might be the best thing for the series or when it goes past the point of no return for the franchise. If they hire a working director that'll just pump out a product (an X3 or Wolverine: Origins comes to mind) it could be a disaster, but if this reboot opens the door for a visionary to reinvent this series then it could be just the shot in the arm these movies need. And I don't know about you, but I'd much rather see Sam Raimi making movies he's passionate about, where he has a level of creative freedom he's comfortable with. We'll keep an ear to the ground on this one and let you know what develops over the next weeks. -Quint Follow Me On Twitter

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