Thursday, January 7, 2010

'Spider-Man 4' Delay A Catalyst for 2011 Scheduling Change-Up

Paramount isn’t missing a beat. With news of production potentially being delayed on Sony’s “Spider-Man 4,” another Marvel Comics tent-pole has been hammered into its now-uncertain May 6th, 2011 release slot—“Thor,” which was previously set to bow only two weeks later. Not to be outdone, Disney almost immediately hijacked the vacated May 20th spot, dating yet another ‘4,’ the fourth installment in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series, “On Stranger Tides.”

The shuffle shapes what looks to be another bofo summer blockbuster season, even if the films in question have yet to prove themselves. The delay for Sam Raimi’s latest web-slinger, for instance, has reportedly been enacted due to issues with the script, a problem any patron of “Spider-Man 3” would likely concede is worth sorting out.

“Thor,” on the other hand, is an unproven live-action property directed by Kenneth Branagh, who’s previously been best known as a director of Shakespeare adaptations like “Much Ado About Nothing” and “Love’s Labor Lost.” His take on this Norse actioner could go the way of “Catwoman” or “Daredevil” just as easily as it could “Dark Knight” or “Iron Man.” Obviously Paramount is banking on the latter.

Lastly, the fourth “Pirates” film arrives without the veteran direction of Gore Verbinski, and it remains to be seen what effect his absence will have on the franchise, which many believe has overstayed its welcome as is.

But regardless of how 2011 compares to recent summers, this scheduling change-up may be moot if “Spider-Man” gets its act together. Marvel would be crazy to cannibalize ticket sales by releasing two competing films on the same weekend, and with “Pirates” so quick to gobble-up the May 20 slot, this Hollywood game of musical chairs would likely force “Thor” to move again.

Thanks to Variety.

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