NEW YORK — On a weekend in January 2010, Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios pivoted faster than even Spider-Man would dare.
A fourth installment of the hugely popular Spider-man franchise was planned, with director Sam Raimi and star Tobey Maguire returning to their trilogy of films that had earned more than $2.5 billion at the global box office and generally been hailed as a standard-bearer in big-screen comic book adaptations.
But by that Monday, Raimi’s dissatisfaction with the script and the producers’ eagerness for a new movie had come to a head. In a flash, the sequel was kaput, and a reboot was ordered up.
On Tuesday, “The Amazing Spider-Man” was released, charting a new start for the web-slinger.
Reasons for reboots vary from restoring dormant franchises (“Star Trek”), to refreshing long-running ones (James Bond) or improving on previous failures (The Hulk).
“The Amazing Spider-Man,” on the other hand, comes close on the heels of Raimi’s acclaimed trilogy.
That makes the $200 million “Amazing Spider-Man” a somewhat daring maneuver, bound to face comparisons to the recent Spider-Man films and skepticism from some moviegoers.
To combat any spidey fatigue, Sony has imbued the new, 3-D “Spider-Man” with youth: Andrew Garfield plays Peter Parker, Emma Stone plays his girlfriend Gwen Stacy and Marc Webb, whose only previous feature was 2009’s “(500) Days of Summer,” directs.
“The only time to take a break is when your franchise fails,” says Avi Arad, a producer of the film and former CEO of Marvel Studios. “People want Spider-Man, so it’s our responsibility to give them something new, something different and start a whole new generation of Spider-Man lovers.”