Posted on Monday, July 5th, 2010 by Peter Sciretta
When it was announced that Columbia Pictures was going to reboot the Spider-Man movie franchise, it was revealed that a big reason for the do-over was due to money. The new 3D reboot has a preliminary price tag of only $80 million, far less than the previous installments.
2002′s Spider-Man has an estimated budget of $140 million and a worldwide gross of $821.7 million. The sequel, Spider-Man 2 was made for an estimated $200 million, and broke $783 million worldwide. The third film in the series, Spider-Man 3, was made for an estimated $258 million and made $890 million worldwide. Not only did the budgets increase, but so did the backend deals of the stars and filmmakers.
While Tobey Maguire was only paid $4 million for the first film, it has been reported that was paid $17.5 million plus 5% back-end for Spider-Man 2, and $15 million plus 7.5% back-end for Spider-Man 3. The actor was supposedly offered $20 million plus a small percentage of backend for the Spider-Man 4 which never happened. You can see how these things get very expensive, with the studio earning less and less as the franchise becomes more and more popular. That is why Sony isn’t hiring big stars this time around.
Music video turned feature director Marc Webb was flying high off of buzz on (500) Days of Summer, but one successful mini-major film doesn’t equate into huge offers. Sony was able to sign a talented director on the cheap, likely $20 million less than a big name director might have cost.
And Garfield isn’t a big name at all. He, like Webb, has critical acclaim for his previous films which were mostly arthouse releases: Boy A, the Red Riding series, The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus, and the Spike Jonze short film I’m Here. However, mainstream audiences will be sure to see his upcoming performance in David Fincher’s The Social Network. Basically, Sony doesn’t have to pay Garfield much, because this role will put him on the map and likely make him an immediate star.
Fleming also reports that Garfield signed an option for $1 million for a sequel, if that happens. He also has an option for $2 million for a potential third film. Of course, contract options like these mean nothing in Hollywood. If the Spider-Man reboot is a huge success, Garfield will be able to renegotiate his deal for the sequels, like Robert Downey Jr. did with Iron Man 2. And the contact pricetag was not just based on Garfield’s experience. Fleming reports that all of the finalists were presented with the exact same money offer, including the sequel options.