Release Date: June 30th, 2004 (wide)
Release Date Note: (3/27/03) Originally scheduled for May 7th, 2004, which was closely patterned after the May 3rd, 2002 release of the first movie, the delay in filming from January to April has led to Sony pushing this film back two months to the (equally choice) date of July 2nd, 2004. Currently, the other movie scheduled for that date is the Will Smith sci-fi adventure, I, Robot (which I expect might move). (5/5/03) Indeed, I, Robot has been bumped back two weeks, so Spidey has the 2nd all to himself now. (3/25/04) Sony has bumped the release up two days to June 30th, 2004, to give it a six day weekend (counting th Monday that most Americans will take off, since the 4th is on a Sunday).
Title Note: (7/16/02) According to promotional art that Columbia Pictures is disseminating at license trade shows, the title of this sequel is not "Spider-Man 2", but with a roman numeral, as "Spider-Man II" (source: Corona). (9/17/02) Or not! Sony has announced, via ERC, that the title of this sequel will be the same as the first comic book series entirely devoted to the character (ie, not counting that one appearance in "Amazing Fantasy" #15), "The Amazing Spider-Man." (2/21/03) Well, Sony apparently has, or is at least considering, dumped the 'Amazing Spider-Man' title, with their site now just this as "The Sequel to Spider-Man". It will probably not end up being called just "Spider-Man 2" (I suspect Raimi and crew want to be more original than that), but for now... that's the easiest thing to list it as.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 (for stylized action violence)
MPAA Rating Notes: (7/16/02) Nothing's official until the MPAA sees the final cut, but it's extremely likely (nay, pretty much guaranteed) that this film is aiming for a PG-13 (last time, the MPAA cited "stylized violence and action"). (4/26/04) It sounds like the MPAA just looked at their previous notes and reworded it this time around as "stylized action violence."
Distributor: Columbia Pictures (Sony)
Production Company: Marvel Entertainment (Daredevil, The Hulk, Iron Man), Laura Ziskin Productions (Spider-Man), Sony Pictures Imageworks (Astro Boy, The Polar Express)
Cast: Tobey Maguire (Peter Parker, AKA Spider-Man), Kirsten Dunst (Mary "MJ" Jane Watson), James Franco (Harry Osborne), Alfred Molina (Dr. Otto Octavius, AKA Doctor Octopus), Dylan Baker (Dr. Curt Connors), Elizabeth Banks (Betty Brant), Bruce Campbell (Snooty Usher), Vanessa Ferlito, Daniel Gillies (John Jameson), Stan Lee (cameo), Rosemary Harris (Aunt May Parker), Joel McHale (Mr. Jacks), Donna Murphy (Rosalie Octavius), Jason Ortiz (Henry), Ted Raimi (Hoffman), Bonnie Somerville
Cast Notes: (2/15/03) For a movie so relatively close to production, it's surprising there hasn't been more news or rumors about possible new cast members... but AICN got the ball rolling last week with an unconfirmed rumor that the top contender for the role of "Doctor Octopus" might be Alfred Molina (Boogie Nights, Frida). (2/19/03) "Variety" confirms (via a press release from Sony which you can read at SuperHeroHype.com) the signing of Molina as Doctor Octopus (though the press release lists him as just "Doc Ock", I think that's just because that's what Sony bigwig Amy Pascal called him in his quote. Just like this movie isn't called 'The Amazing Spidey', it's very likely 'Doc Ock' isn't the only name they're using.
(3/18/03) Both of the major trades report today that Tobey Maguire may have to drop out of this project due to back pains presumably suffered during filming of Seabiscuit (although there were no specific injuries reported during it) which may prevent him from showing up on April 12th able to do this movie's many strenuous stunts. Luckily, Jake Gyllenhaal, who was one of the actors who nearly got the role in the first film anyway, is available to step in to replace Tobey if he doesn't get better. In addition to being a lot cheaper than Maguire, Jake Gyllenhaal is also Kirsten Dunst's boyfriend, which if he takes the role, could lead to some very juicy gossip headlines from the set.
(3/27/03) Tobey Maguire is confirmed as being all healed up and ready to web-swing starting in two weeks. (4/9/03) New Zealand actor Daniel Gillies has landed the unexpected role of John Jameson, the astronaut son of Peter's boss, J. Jonah Jameson, who will also be portrayed as Mary Jane's newest romantic interest. (6/18/03) Spider-Man Hype reports that Bruce Campbell's role this time around is as a "snooty usher" who doesn't allow Peter Parker entry to see Mary Jane's first big play. Fans of the first movie will know that this usher also has/had a gig as a wrestling announcer. : )
(8/12/04) In one version of the script, one of the supporting characters was Felicia Hardy, AKA the Black Cat, as a competing romantic interest, and there were even reports that a young actress named Brooke Adams was cast in the role (and possibly shot some scenes); but ultimately, the Black Cat didn't make the cut this time around.
Director: Sam Raimi (Spider-Man, A Simple Plan, Army of Darkness, The Gift, Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn)
Screenwriter: Michael Chabon (feature debut of the author of Wonder Boys; he's also working on the script of the movie version of his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, "The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay"; preview page coming soon)
Screenwriter Note: (9/24/02) This film's screenwriter situation to date has been a little strange. First, Alfred Gough and Miles Millar, the writing team of Shanghai Noon and Shanghai Knights were hired to work on the script. Then, the writer of the first film, David Koepp (Panic Room, Stir of Echoes) was hired to come up with his own script, which the original writers would then rewrite. Now, all three have been dropped from the project, with Pulitzer Prize-winning author Michael Chabon being the sole writer. If you're a comic book fan, you'd be advised to read his amazing novel, "The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay." (9/27/02) Michael Chabon will be starting over from scratch, based on his own ideas. (2/17/03) Gough and Millar have moved on to adapting another of Marvel's classic characters... Iron Man.
Based Upon: This is the sequel to the 2002 blockbuster hit, and current (7/16/02) #1 movie of the year, Spider-Man, which set the record for a three-day opening weekend at $114.844 million, and has taken in over $400 million, just in the U.S. alone. Both movies are, of course, based upon the character created by Steve Ditko (art) and Stan Lee (writing), as first published in "Amazing Fantasy #15" in 1962 by Marvel Comics. This movie will be followed by Spider-Man 3, which is likely to be aiming for a summer, 2006 release.
Trilogy Note: (7/16/02) Sony made sure to sign both Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst for *two* sequels, although Sam Raimi is not likewise signed for the third film (yet). Presuming that this sequel doesn't bomb, the third movie is pretty much a certainty, though we probably won't see it in theaters any earlier than 2006 or 2007.
Villains Note: (7/16/02) The early development of this sequel was a bit odd, because Sony first hired Shanghai Knights writing team Alfred Gough and Miles Millar to work on it in April, 2002, before announcing two months later that David Koepp was going to write his own script, from which Gough and Millar would then do a rewrite.
This screenwriter note is important to state at this point, because most of what is online about the new characters in this sequel comes from actress Kirsten Dunst, and it all predates the Koepp news in early June. In other words... if Koepp is doing his own thing separate from what Millar and Gough started on, it's possible that anything Dunst said before June 11th, 2002 is no longer true. Koepp's story idea may have completely different villains (at one point, the villains of the first film were supposed to be the Sandman and Elektro, for example).
Specifically, Dunst first told ComingSoon.net back in April, 2002 that the villains were to be Doctor Octopus and the Lizard. Dunst then told "Wizard" magazine in early June that Felicia Hardy, aka the Black Cat, may be brought in as a romantic interest for Peter in this second film (this was also before Koepp came aboard). Since both of her revelations predate Koepp's new story idea, however... they may both be completely irrelevant at this point. I do have a hunch, though, that even if the Lizard and the Black Cat are dropped, Doctor Octopus probably does remain a shoo-in to be one of the villains in this movie.
(9/27/02) With Michael Chabon starting over on the script from scratch, I'd say all previous statements about who might be in this movie have to be seriously reconsidered as being possibly outdated.
(2/19/03) Avi Arad of Marvel confirmed this week that there is only one villain in this movie, and the casting of Alfred Molina tells us which one that is. The Lizard will have to wait.
(4/9/03) I'm not sure if we'll actually see the change in *this* movie (or in any movie, for that matter), but one of Spidey's villains has effectively joined the cast as of this movie: The Man-Wolf (which is what astronaut John Jameson becomes after finding a strange stone during a trip to the moon). Although the Man-Wolf has never seemed particularly popular to me, as a character, he (or more specifically, John Jameson) is fairly integral to Peter's story, as Peter's boss always held his son's shining example of heroism as an astronaut against the more flamboyant example that Spider-Man sets as a "super" hero. John's change into becoming a "super villain" (albeit unintentionally) was one of J. Jonah's most heart-wrenching storylines in the history of the character (there have been others).
All recent reports to date indicate that the Lizard is no longer a villain in this second movie, but his human alter-ego, Dr. Curt Connors, has still been cast (by Dylan Baker, who played the creepy dad in Happiness) regardless, which sets him up for possibly being the villain in a future film.
(5/9/03) Young model/actress Brooke Adams, who will become the youngest "Maxim" cover girl ever this fall, has landed the role of Felicia Hardy, who in the comics is also known as the Black Cat. It's possible that she may be introduced in this movie so that she can become the Black Cat in 'Spidey 3'?
Premise: Picking up several months later, the story of mild-mannered science student, part-time photojournalist and occasional web-crawling superhero Peter Parker continues as he is now attending college at New York City's (fictional) Empire State University, after having graduated from high school in the first movie... and his adventures throw him into conflict with egghead scientist Dr. Otto Octavius (Molina), who becomes grafted to a set of four mechanical arms which he can use to amazing effect... as a "mad scientist" villain some call "Doctor Octopus". Can our webbed hero avoid getting clobbered by two of Doc Ock's metallic arms while dodging the other two? Meanwhile, we're also introduced in this second movie to John Jameson (Gillies), the astronaut son of Peter's mean boss, J. Jonah Jameson (Simmons), who is also Mary Jane's new boyfriend, as she continues to pursue her career as a model, with her face on ads for "Emma Rose" perfume all over New York City. Central to the story are Peter's struggles with choosing between being a normal young man and a superhero, and Harry Osborne's growing interest in seeking vengeance against the man he thinks is responsible for the death of his father (the Green Goblin): Spider-Man.
Filming: Production started on April 12th, 2003 at locations throughout New York City and the surrounding area (with Columbia University doubling for the fictional Empire University, for example), with much of the later production also taking place at Sony's soundstages in Los Angeles. Filming had been scheduled to start in January, but was pushed back to give Tobey Maguire a little more time to finish up filming of Seabiscuit, and for the various preproduction things that need to be done, like casting and set building. Back in November, 2002, Sam Raimi and crew were in Chicago to film some sequences involving the city's El trains that wouldn't have been possible in New York City. (5/17/03) Production in New York City wrapped up on May 13th, 2003, with the rest of the filming now moving to the sets in Los Angeles. (10/26/03) The budget of this movie is reportedly in the $210 million range, making it one of the most expensive productions of all time.
Genre: Action, Eye Candy, Sequel, Science Fiction, Superhero, Teen
Encyclopedia Entries (Man-Wolf): Amazing Spider-Man Info, Lycanthropes and Furries, MarvelDirectory.com, SpiderFan.org, Unofficial Handbook to the MU
Photo Galleries: WireImage.com (this site will be posting galleries from the locations regularly; as of 4/23/03, there are three such galleries: Tobey on the phone; Tobey's double on a moped; and lots of shots of the Spidey suit, sometimes with Tobey in it, sometimes a stuntman)
Official Comic Book Character Site: Marvel.com
Unofficial Preview Sites: SuperHeroHype.com, Comics2Film.com
Official Site: SonyPictures.com
Message Board: Share your thoughts on our "Spider-Man 2 (2004)" Message Board
Input about Greg's Previews of upcoming Movies, or any movie covered here, is encouraged. Just e-mail Greg Dean Schmitz using our feedback form. Please note that all release dates are subject to change.
8/12/04 - Cast Notes, Cast
|Recent Updates to This Page:|
4/26/04 - MPAA Rating, MPAA Rating Notes
4/09/04 - Premise, Greg's Preview Thoughts
7/16/02 - Columbia Pictures was confident enough about the franchise potential of Peter Parker, the sensational Spider-Man, that they greenlit this sequel in early April, 2002, a full month before Spider-Man brought in $114.8 million on its first weekend, beating the previous record held by Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone over $34 million, more than most movies open to, period. Pundits were tsk-tsking and predicting that the Spider-Man fanbase was too old (ie, because the character dates back 40 years) and too cultish to make back Sony's admittedly massive budget. I heard people saying that Spidey couldn't possibly beat Harry's record because the Potter secret was that busloads of kids were brought to the movie theaters by schools as a reward for good scholarship. Ah, but... kids also can't go to midnight shows, and as great it is that J.K. Rowling is getting kids to read, the Spider-Man reach is far greater. Two entire generations have come up as Spidey fans, and that's not just in the USA, but across the world. There's something about the underdog story of a shy boy who becomes a hero who can [almost] fly above the heads of those who once mocked him. Actually, in that way, Misters Potter and Parker have a lot in common, but Peter's been doing it a lot longer (hey, maybe WB should've waited until 2030 before making their Potter movies!).
And so, as I post this page, the sequel has been official and greenlit for three months, with Kirsten Dunst making three major relevations about possible new characters (the Lizard, Doctor Octopus and the Black Cat). I'm hesitant to run with them, however, as just after she said all that, Sony announced that they're going with a different story idea than they started with, going back to David Koepp who wrote the first movie. So... it's extremely possible that everything Ms. Dunst heard was from the original storyline, and won't be used at all. I do think, however, that even if Koepp doesn't use the Lizard and the Black Cat, that Dr. Octopus is probably a sure thing, though I'm waiting for some post-Koepp evidence.
2/19/03 - Signs of that definite confirmation has been bubbling forth online the last few days, and it came today with Sony's official casting announcement of Alfred Molina as Doctor Octopus, paired with a comment from Marvel's Avi Arad confirming that there is only one villain in this sequel. Of course, the jury is still out on the Black Cat, as she might be a "cat burgular", but she's not traditionally portrayed as a "villain" (so she could still sneak in through that loophole). As for the casting of Molina as Dr. Octavius... I think he's certainly got the potential to be great, no complaints. It doesn't hurt that he showed in Frida that he can "play" fat (Dr. Octopus is traditionally on the pudgy side in the comics; though not super-fat... just kind of short and stocky, with a gut).
3/18/03 - Both of the major trades report today that Tobey Maguire may have to drop out of this project due to back pains presumably suffered during filming of Seabiscuit (although there were no specific injuries reported during it) which may prevent him from showing up on April 12th able to do this movie's many strenuous stunts. Luckily, Jake Gyllenhaal (AKA Kirsten Dunst's current boyfriend), who was one of the actors who nearly got the role in the first film anyway, is available to step in to replace Tobey if he doesn't get better. It would be a bit sad to see Tobey Maguire get dumped so summarily after doing so well in the first movie, and odd to have to see another actor taking the job, but... Jake Gyllenhaal would most likely deliver an equally amazing performance as Peter Parker, so I can't exactly say the idea of him taking the job doesn't excite me a bit. One thing to consider is that in the comics, Peter Parker's appearance *did* change significantly when he got to college. If Gyllenhaal takes the job, it will be an eerie (but hopefully "cool") recreation of that change.
3/27/03 - First off, never mind the Jake Gyllenhaal buzz... Tobey's back is all healed and ready to go for the filming in two weeks. The bigger news today, however, is the fact that filming of Seabiscuit went on longer than expected, pushing filming of this movie back three months to April, has led Sony to realize they couldn't get the F/X work done in time for an early May, 2004 release, so they're taking on the Independence Day weekend instead.
6/25/03 - Well, this movie is still over a year away, but I've already posted the preview page for Spider-Man 3, to track the news and rumors that will undoubtedly emerge about the *next* chapter, especially when this movie wraps and the hype starts in 2004 around its release.
7/06/03 - "Variety" reported this week that we're likely to see the first teaser/trailer in theaters in November. My best guesses for what film it might be attached to are Tim Burton's Big Fish (which *could* be released in November, and is a Sony project) and The Matrix: Revolutions (since it's likely to be one of the biggest, if not biggest, movie of the season).
7/23/03 - Well, this past weekend I was in San Diego for Comic Con, and on Saturday afternoon, Sony had a big presentation where they premiered both our first still photo of Doctor Octopus (see above), and a 3 minute clip from the film that absolutely rocked my socks. You can see larger versions of the Doc Ock image in the Yahoo! Movies photo gallery, so I think I will just focus on describing that clip for you. We were given absolutely no setup for this scene at all, except that it is shortly after the accident that grafted the mechanical arms to Otto Octavius' spine. As the scene starts, we see a large operation room, with Octavius unconscious on the surgery table, the four mechanical arms strewn across the room with sheets covering them (which was a bit of an odd image), as the doctors and nurses make a few jokes about the job at hand. To sum up the rest of the scene briefly without giving away spoiler details, the doctor doesn't get to make his first cut on the arms, because they quickly come to life, flailing the hospital staff around, in a sequence of shots that belong firmly in a horror movie (and here, of course :). What really stood out to me was how stylized and "Raimi-esque" (as well as Hitchcockian) the shots were. It occurred to me right there that Sam has sort of been reining in his more flash directorial style for several years now, going all the way back to 1994's The Quick and the Dead (and best displayed in his three 'Evil Dead' movies). If the rest of the movie is as stylized as this clip, this movie is really going to stand out from what we saw from Raimi the first time around. The way I'm interpreting it is that for the first movie, Sam might have been holding back slightly, and now, he knows what he can get away with, and so he's willing to go a bit farther (this clip is really quite scary, edgy and almost disturbing). I also think that when fans see how downright cool Doc Ock is, a lot of people who didn't consider themselves fans of the character might find their opinion changed (at least for this movie). Doctor Octopus is a classic comics villain, represented in hundreds of ways over the year, but Raimi and his technical gurus have come up with a design that beats most of them. Of course, the fact that we're seeing them in live-action is part of the magic too... I would wager plenty of villains that seem mildly lame in the comics could seem far more intimidating in live-action (Stilt-Man comes to mind :).
8/10/03 - Hot on the heels of Sony's unveiling of that great Doctor Octopus poster, another very official poster image of Spider-Man himself in his slightly changed costume appeared online recently over at Superhero Hype!. That is just a beautiful image. Basically, it shows one of the typical Spider-Man poses from the comic books being done in live action, which accentuates just what sort of odd and seemingly impossible action poses Spider-Man puts himself in. This pose is one of my favorites, because from this direction, it looks like Spidey's knee is in his armpit (it basically is). Thus far, that's two official images from the movie, and they both are excellent.
10/14/03 - I've received word from an anonymous source that the first trailer (possibly a teaser) will appear in theaters on December 17th, attached to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King.
10/24/03 - Last week, the trailer was shown at a Japanese film industry event, and a shot-by-shot description soon showed up at AICN.
10/30/03 - The second official poster (the first to actually feature Spidey) is now online over at the official site for your perusing and wallpapering enjoyment.
12/10/03 - The first trailer, which will be attached to The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King in theaters next Wednesday, will have its online debut this Monday, December 15th... stay tuned!
12/16/03 - The teaser trailer did appear online in one form yesterday, but now, you can watch it here at Yahoo! Movies in three different formats (Windows, Real and Quicktime). This is the teaser trailer which has already been presented at various industry functions earlier in the fall (and was then described in detail online), but pictures really are worth a thousand words. This is a great little tease of Doctor Octopus in motion, and of some of Spidey's web slinging, but really... it's still not as good as the fantastic operation room sequence Sony revealed at Comic Con in August. I'm very surprised that never appeared online in some form; at the time, I sort of presumed it would. Of course, that sequence wouldn't have really have worked as a teaser for the movie in general either (though it certainly makes Doc Ock seem "bad a**"). This teaser, at least, reminds us of the continuing romantic tension between Peter and Mary Jane that is the core of his character arc (as Peter Parker), and as this scene suggests, possibly as Spider-Man as well, and also the course that James Franco's character of Harry Osborne is taking in the movies.
4/09/04 - The full trailer debuted last night during TV's "The Apprentice" on NBC, and now it's online over at the official site. The bulk of the trailer is spent outlining the gist of the premise this time around, which sort of irritated me because I've been intensely tracking this movie for two years, and have been able to avoid exposing myself from certain premise details; it's no fun getting spoiled in the trailer of all places! Why do we need to know so many story details ahead of time... can't we just get some visual teases, a few choice lines, and let the story tell itself where it's supposed to... in the movie theater? Anyway, having said all that, the movie looks great, but I expected nothing less. Sony obviously has to make efforts to "sell" the movie, but really... I think this one sells itself by title alone. Yay.
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