Spider-Man 4 Will Happen, With Or WITHOUT Raimi, Maguire Or Dunst

Sometimes I really don't understand the internet. One of the big stories going around the web this week was Sam Raimi confirming a Spider-Man 4, 5 and 6. I really don't understand how this is news considering Sony optioned six films way back when (when exactly I'm not sure, but I've found articles stating this all the way back in 2004). But since Raimi's new comment has refueled interest in this area, let's explore.

A Spider-Man 4 will happen, with or without the current director and or cast. Sure, Sony would love to have the full team return, but that might not be possible. It's a Hollywood version of Jenga, you pull one block out and they all fall. Kirsten Dunst has said that she won't return unless both Tobey and Sam also sign on. Tobey has been on and off again about his comments, but has ultimately said that he could only be interested if Sam came back. And no one knows if Raimi will return. The director has spent a lot of time on the series (five years to be exact). Another film would be a 2-3 year investment. Internet rumors say that New Line would like to sign the director for The Hobbit, an adaptation which must happen soon, and would prevent Sam from helming the fourth Spidey flick. And remember, if Sam is out, Tobey is out. If both Sam and Tobey is out, Kirsten is out. And even if Sony wanted to bring the whole team back, could they afford it?

Spider-Man 3 is expected to be a huge hit. I'm sure all the people involved will demand even bigger contracts. Tobey was supposedly offered $20 million to sign on for a fourth film. At the end of the day, Sony spent over $300 million on the third film. This means the film will have to make $600 million at the box office and a couple million on DVD to break even. Don't get me wrong, it will break even, but it's more about the long haul than you would think. Could a fourth film be profitable with bigger egos demanding even more cash? And I'm sure the FX budget would also expand.

Production president Matt Tolmach told EW, "We're making Spider-Man 4. Our hope, dream, and intention is to do it with Sam.... But I don't have a crystal ball." The truth of the matter is, Sony is going to go ahead with or without Sam, Kirsten and Tobey.

And what's planned for the next one? Producer Avi Arad says there's a story idea and an old-school villain lined up.