Spider-Man's been getting a lot of action lately, with Sony and Marvel teaming up to bring the character into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and it turns out there's going to be a new animated Spider-Man film as well. Tom Rothman, chairman of the Sony Pictures Entertainment Motion Picture Group, announced today that the studio will be releasing a new animated film about the character on July 20th, 2018.
From the directors of 'The Lego Movie'
Shepherding the project will be Phil Lord and Christopher Miller, the writer-directors behind the 21 Jump Street series, The Lego Movie, and the Will Forte television show Last Man On Earth. They'll be producing and writing the treatment for the new film, but there's no announcement about their involvement as directors just yet. The new film is said to exist independently from the live-action Spider-Man movie that is currently being developed, and won't impact that film's 2017 release date or the planned appearance of the live-action Spider-Man in an upcoming Marvel film.
Dealing with the Spider-Man series has been a bit of an issue for Sony. While the studio had success with the first trilogy of films from Sam Raimi, it rebooted the character with Andrew Garfield in the title role just years later. While Sony had announced ambitious plans for a Marvel-style expanded universe centered solely around Spider-Man and related characters and villains, the studio's most recent standalone film — The Amazing Spider-Man 2 — failed to meet critical or box-office expectations. That set the ground for the Marvel and Sony collaboration, in which Marvel's Kevin Feige would step in to help produce Sony's Spider-Man films, while also gaining the ability to include the character in Marvel's own movies. Spider-Man, like the X-Men, is one of a handful of Marvel characters whose film rights are not directly controlled by Marvel.
We could see two dramatically different takes on the character from the same studio
Interestingly enough, in its press release about the news Sony does not list Feige as a producer on the new animated film. Instead Avi Arad, Matt Tolmach, and former Sony Pictures head Amy Pascal are listed as producers alongside Lord and Miller. While that trio was the same team behind the two Garfield films, Arad and Tolmach were not part of the new Marvel initiative. As a result, we could see two dramatically different takes on the character. In any case, with Lord and Miller in charge this is likely to be the funniest — and most pop-culturally savvy — Spider-Man anyone has ever seen.