BREAKING NEWS! Mike Fleming and I have just confirmed that Sony Pictures decided today to reboot the Spider-Man franchise after franchise director Sam Raimi pulled out of Spider-Man 4 because he felt he couldn't make its summer release date and keep the film's creative integrity. This means that Raimi and the cast including star Tobey Maguire are out. There will be no Spider-Man 4. Instead, Mike Fleming is told, the studio will focus on a reboot script by Jamie Vanderbilt with a new director and a new cast. All this took place today at meeting on the lot today. An official Sony Pictures news release about it is expected.
My sources tell me that Raimi told Sony Pictures: "I can't make your date. I can't go forward creatively." And, so, once he said "That's it", Sony Pictures co-chairman Pascal and Columbia Pictures' Matt Tolmach decided they didn't want to replace him and instead chose to reboot the franchise. Insiders also tell me that Tobey Maguire heard the news in a phone call with Amy today. I'm told Tobey wasn't upset. "He's made 3 great Spider-Man movies. He's done really well. But he's the kind of guy who, if Sam wanted to go forward, would have been there for Sam and the studio. Absolutely."
Mike Fleming has heard that, from Spidey, Raimi could move to World Of Warcraft, or to The Given Day, that terrific novel by Dennis Lehane, author of Shutter Island and Mystic River. Both are worthy projects, but World Of Warcraft is a huge franchise.