A decade ago he was the invincible king of the superhero franchises. Sam Raimi's first two "Spider-Man" films not only scored critical acclaim but around $400 million domestic and $400 million worldwide each in box-office revenue.
Today, things have changed. Since its reboot in 2012, the two Marc Webb-directed "Amazing Spider-Man" films have performed slightly better overseas, taking in around $500 million each. However, domestically they've slumped - the first nabbing $250 million and the recent second just $200 million. Reviews have also taken a dive - the first scoring a mixed/slightly positive and the second a mixed/negative reception.
In a recent interview with THR, Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal says "I would have liked Amazing Spider-Man 2 to make a lot more money for us than it did, but it made a lot of money for us anyway". In fact their source says the film's final tally was $100 million below internal predictions, mostly due to the under performing domestic reception which saw the film's solid $91 million opening plummet 61% in its second weekend.
Thus came the news this week of the next film's delay from June 2016 to sometime in 2018 while "The Amazing Spider-Man 4," which was originally slated for 2018, is completely off the schedule for now.
One upside of the jump away from 2016 is the film won't face as intense competition in the genre. Before it moved, it was up against "Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice," "Captain America 3" and "X-Men: Apocalypse" all opening within four weeks before Spidey 3 hit cinemas.
Studio sources for the trade admit the studio is seeking to freshen the brand but has no major overhaul or 'second reboot' plans at present. Webb is expected to return to complete the trilogy which will continue on from this year's sequel. Amusingly some fans have pointed out that star Andrew Garfield will be at least 34 by the time the next film begins shooting which makes him a bit old to be playing a college student.
The extra time will also allow Sony to tackle a much tougher question - where will they go with the property after that?