Last week we told you that Bob Orci was officially off The Amazing Spider-Man 3, and in an interview he said he felt the franchise's future was up in the air. Of course being off the property means Orci doesn't have an insider's perspective anymore. But his ex-writing partner does - Alex Kurtzman is still technically attached to write and direct a Venom movie. Talking to Collider Kurtzman, who is possibly still on The Amazing Spider-Man 3 said this about the film's release date:
It’s all up for grabs, right now. We’re just trying to figure it out.
That's not a promising statement coming off a sequel that spends a lot of time setting up a franchise. If they're still trying to figure it out three movies in...
When asked if we might get Black Cat, possibly in her own solo movie, Kurtzman continued the confused answers:
Anything is possible. We are always looking for opportunities like that. I can’t say a whole lot about it, but I wouldn’t rule anything out.
This reads less to me like hedging bets or keeping secrets and more like honestly not knowing. Kurtzman says that Venom is scheduled for after Sinister Six, but every day that passes I hear more and more scuttlebutt that makes me think Sinister Six is dead or dying. In fact everything I hear every day makes this whole franchise sound like it's essentially DOA.
But it cannot be! Sony will not let the rights lapse back to Marvel, come hell or high water, so there will be movement on the franchise. Also, it's Sony's only big franchise right now (they don't own James Bond), so they can't let it go. But the franchise is clearly dying - domestic box office is down, international box office is stagnant at best, and fan interest is low.
The other bit of scuttlebutt I've heard: feel bad for Marc Webb. He's toiling behind the scenes trying to make these movies good, and he's getting blocked at every turn by Avi Arad and Sony suits. I don't know anything about anybody's deals but the stories I've heard about Webb getting crushed by the producers make me think he might not be back for The Amazing Spider-Man 3, whenever that happens. That's just speculation right now, of course.
What will save Spider-Man? Getting rid of Avi Arad and clearing the deck for Webb to actually make a movie he wants to make, I think.