Spider-Man 3 is a 2007 superhero film that is the third film in the Spider-Man film franchise based on the fictional Marvel Comics character Spider-Man. Sam Raimi, who directed the previous two Spider-Man films, takes up the helm again with a returning cast that includes Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Rosemary Harris and J. K. Simmons. The film also stars franchise newcomers Topher Grace, Bryce Dallas Howard and Thomas Haden Church. Spider-Man 3 is scheduled to be released in both conventional and IMAX theaters on May 4, 2007.
Peter Parker basks in the spotlight with his public success as his superhero alter ego, Spider-Man. He plans to propose to Mary Jane Watson. When the police tell Peter and Aunt May that new evidence shows Sandman as being responsible for killing Uncle Ben, Parker goes after the alleged perpetrator personally. As Spider-Man, he battles Sandman and his former friend Harry Osborn, who has donned the persona of the New Goblin. During this time, astronaut John Jameson brings an "alien life force" back to Earth with him. The force forms a symbiotic relationship with Peter's costume, influencing his behavior for the worse; and causes a strain in Peter and MJ's relationship. As a result, Spider-Man has to fight the villain within, until he finally tears the symbiote from his body. After parting from Spider-Man, the symbiote finds a new host in Eddie Brock Junior, and the resulting merger creates Venom, who kidnaps Mary-Jane.
* Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker / Spider-Man: A physics graduate student and photographer for the Daily Bugle who leads a double life as the superhero Spider-Man, protecting New York City from crime.
* Kirsten Dunst as Mary Jane Watson: Peter Parker's love interest and a Broadway actress.
* James Franco as Harry Osborn / New Goblin: The son of Norman Osborn and Peter Parker's former best friend who believes that Spider-Man murdered his father. After learning Peter Parker is Spider-Man, Harry becomes the New Goblin to battle his former friend directly.
* Topher Grace as Eddie Brock, Jr. / Venom: A photographer at the Daily Bugle. He grows increasingly embittered toward Peter Parker, who beats Brock to photography gigs and has attracted the attention of Brock's girl, Gwen Stacy. After Spider-Man separates himself from the alien symbiote, it drops on Brock, and bonds with him, thereby, becoming Venom.
* Thomas Haden Church as Flint Marko / The Sandman: A small-time thug who has a wife and daughter. An accident gives him the ability to change his body into malleable sand, transforming him into Sandman. He is now believed to be the person responsible for Uncle Ben's death.
* Bryce Dallas Howard as Gwen Stacy: Daughter of a police captain, George Stacy, and a science student of Dr. Curt Connors. She competes with Mary Jane Watson for the love of Peter Parker, her lab partner, despite Eddie Brock, Jr's feelings for her.
* Rosemary Harris as May Parker: The aunt of Peter Parker and the widow of Ben Parker, Peter's uncle. Peter has not told her of his vigilante role in protecting New York City as Spider-Man.
* Dylan Baker as Dr. Curt Connors: A college physics professor under whom Peter Parker studied and with whom he has maintained a good friendship.
* J. K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson: The aggressive chief of the Daily Bugle. He carries a personal vendetta against Spider-Man, whom he considers a criminal.
* Daniel Gillies as John Jameson: The son of J. Jonah Jameson and an astronaut who was left at the wedding altar by Mary Jane Watson. He brings back the symbiote with him to Earth from outer space.
* James Cromwell as Captain George Stacy: A police captain and father of Gwen Stacy. He shares the news with Peter and May Parker that new evidence indicates that Flint Marko killed Uncle Ben.
* Theresa Russell as Mrs. Marko: The wife of Flint Marko / Sandman.
* Elizabeth Banks as Betty Brant: The secretary to J. Jonah Jameson at the Daily Bugle.
* Cliff Robertson as Benjamin "Ben" Parker: The husband to May Parker and uncle of Peter Parker. Killed by a criminal with the primary suspect originally being the carjacker. Spider-Man lives by Ben's words: "With great power comes great responsibility." The police find new evidence that indicates that Flint Marko, not the carjacker, had killed Uncle Ben.
* Tim DeZarn as Philip Watson: The abusive father of Mary Jane Watson.
* Michael Papajohn as Carjacker: The criminal who was thought to have killed Peter Parker's Uncle Ben in the first film, though new evidence suggests someone else murdered Ben Parker.
* Willem Dafoe as Norman Osborn / Green Goblin: The deceased father of Harry Osborn who appears to his son in hallucinations.
Stan Lee has a cameo in Spider-Man 3, as he did in the previous Spider-Man films. Unlike his previous Spider-Man cameos, he has dialogue with Peter Parker in his cameo for this film. Lee has referred to it as his "best cameo" in an interview. Bruce Campbell, who has had cameo roles as a wrestling ring announcer in Spider-Man and as a rude usher in Spider-Man 2, returns in Spider-Man 3 with a new cameo. Sam Raimi has a cameo in Spider-Man 3 as a Navy admiral.
In March of 2004, with Spider-Man 2 being released the coming June, Marvel Studios had begun developing Spider-Man 3 for a release date of 2007. By the release of Spider-Man 2, a release date for Spider-Man 3 had been set for May 2, 2007 before production on the sequel had begun. The date was later changed to May 4. In January 2005, Sony Pictures Entertainment completed a seven-figure deal with screenwriter Alvin Sargent, who had penned Spider-Man 2, to work on Spider-Man 3 with an option to write a fourth film. For the sequel, Sargent brought back Harry Osborn as a more formidable adversary for Spider-Man. While Harry Osborn had been depicted as taking up his father's Green Goblin mantle in most non-film stories, or the Ultimate Hobgoblin in the Ultimate Marvel comics continuity, Raimi had said at Comic-Con 2006 that Harry would be neither, but instead "somewhere between". Raimi ultimately titled Harry Osborn the New Goblin, with the character being equipped with a glider called the Sky Stick. Actor James Franco, who portrays Harry in the film, described the character's villainy as realistic: "It's not just that he turns dark just because it's fun. He has very justifiable reasons for why he does what he does."
Topher Grace, who was initially cast in an unidentified role in May 2005, plays Venom, a character whose perceived "lack of humanity" had been criticized by Sam Raimi. Marvel Studios chairman and CEO Avi Arad convinced Raimi to include Venom, telling the director that Venom had a strong fan base. The director grew to appreciate the result of the character, based on Alvin Sargent's script treatment and the performance of Grace, who gained 20 pounds of muscle for the role. At Comic-Con 2006, the film's version of the character was described as being based on "an amalgamation of Venom stories". Eddie Brock, Junior, the human part of Venom, would serve as a mirror to Peter Parker. Both characters had similar employment and romantic interests, though Brock differed from Parker in having a "terrible childhood".
Spider-Man 3 also introduces the film version of Sandman, in whom Tobey Maguire originally expressed personal interest as a future adversary for Spider-Man during press for Spider-Man 2. Although the character in the comic books is more or less a goon, the screenwriters added a new plot of him being Uncle Ben's killer, in order to further Peter's guilt over his uncle's death. Thomas Haden Church was approached for the role because of his award-winning performance in Sideways. After being cast, Church worked out for 16 months to improve his physique for the role.
Reportedly, the film's budget is $250 million, which would make it the most expensive film ever made in nominal U.S. dollars, breaking King Kong's budget record of $207 million. It would also be third, in adjusted dollars, to War and Peace's budget of $560 million. Camera crews spent ten days between November 5, 2005, and November 18, 2005, to film sequences that would involve intense visual effects so Sony Pictures Imageworks could begin work on the shots early in the project. The same steps had been taken for Spider-Man 2 to begin producing visual effects early for sequences involving the villain Doctor Octopus.
Columbia Pictures officially announced that the main filming for Spider-Man 3 started on January 2, 2006. Principal photography wrapped up in August 2006 after over a hundred days of filming. Principal photography had begun on January 16, 2006, on Stage 30 at Sony Pictures Studios in Culver City, CA. The team filmed in Los Angeles until May 19, 2006. In spring 2006, film location manager Peter Martorano brought camera crews to Cleveland, due to the Cleveland Film Commission offering production space at the city's convention center at no cost. Afterward, the team moved to Manhattan, where filming commenced until July 1, 2006. After August, pick-ups were conducted as Raimi sought to film more action scenes. The film then wrapped in October, although in the following month, additional special effects shots were taken to finalize the production.
John Dykstra, who won the Academy Award for Visual Effects for his work on Spider-Man 2, declined to work on the third film as visual effects supervisor, with colleague Scott Stokdyk taking over the reins. Sony Pictures Imageworks designed specific computer programs that did not exist when Spider-Man 3 began production. The company used the groundbreaking visual effects programs to create the performances and shots needed to complete the film. In addition to the innovative visual effects for the film, Stokdyk created a miniature of a skyscraper section at 1/16 scale with New Deal Studios' Ian Hunter and David Sanger. Stokdyk chose to design the miniature instead of using computer-generated imagery so damage done to the building could be portrayed realistically and timely without guesswork involving computer models.
For scenes involving visual effects, Thomas Haden Church was super-imposed onto the screen, where computer-generated imagery was then applied. With sand as a possible hazard for scenes of buried characters, ground-up corncobs was used as a substitute instead. In a fight where Spider-Man punches through Sandman's chest, congenital amputee boxer Baxter Humby took Tobey Maguire's place in filming the scene. Humby, who was born without his right hand, helped deliver the intended effect of punching through Sandman's chest.
Originally, Danny Elfman, the composer for the previous installments, did not plan to return for the third installment of Spider-Man because of difficulties with director Sam Raimi. Elfman had said that he had a "miserable experience" working with Raimi on Spider-Man 2 and could not comfortably adapt his music. Christopher Young was then announced to score Spider-Man 3 in Elfman's vacancy. However, on December 1, 2006, producer Grant Curtis announced that Elfman will be working with Christopher Young on the music for Spider-Man 3. Work on the music had not been started at the time of his entry. Young will be keeping the themes for Spider-Man and the Green Goblin whilst composing new themes for Sandman, Venom and the love story.
The first teaser trailer for Spider-Man 3 was released on the Internet on June 27, 2006 and also accompanied the theatrical release of Superman Returns. At Comic-Con 2006 in San Diego, the studio showed an incomplete piece of the film that contained temp sound and temp visual effect shots. The studio also presented a first glimpse of Venom at the convention.
The first full-length Spider-Man 3 trailer premiered on November 9, 2006 on various channels and websites, with an exclusive high-definition version on iFilm, which became available after the premiere. The trailer was also attached to Casino Royale when the James Bond film premiered on November 17, 2006. New Spider-Man 3 posters were also announced to be revealed to the public around the release date of Casino Royale. The same trailer was also attached to Ghost Rider on February 16, 2007. On November 21, 2006, Sony released the two additional posters for Spider-Man 3.
Preview clips of Spider-Man 3 with commentaries by actors, actresses, producers, and the director were shown during FOX's November 23, 2006 television premiere of Spider-Man 2, including a brief glimpse of Venom. On January 2, 2007, FX aired an "exclusive cut" of Spider-Man 2 that provided a sneak peek of Spider-Man 3 during the broadcast. In the same January, Spider-Man 3 was presented in the pre-feature programs under Regal, AMC, and Cinemark Theaters.
In January 2007, the studio presented a mid-air fight sequence between Peter Parker and Harry Osborn to audiences at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. On March 5, 2007, highlights of this clip aired during Heroes. The full clip became available online afterward on NBC's official website for 24 hours as a bonus to NBC viewers, and was removed at 9PM on March 6, 2007.
On March 3, 2007 a second theatrical trailer was shown at WonderCon in San Francisco, California that showed Venom drop from the ceiling and pull Spider-Man up. This trailer was attached to the film 300 on March 9, 2007. The final trailer debuted on March 23, 2007 on a special website designed by Comcast for the movie.
Spider-Man 3 will have its world premiere in Tokyo on April 16, 2007 and will be released in Japan on May 1, 2007, three days prior to the American release.
A video game similarly titled Spider-Man 3, based on the film, will be released in May 2007 to coincide with the film's release. The video game will be available on the Wii, Xbox 360, PC, Nintendo DS, PS2, PSP and PS3. At the American International Toy Fair in October 2006, Techno Source unveiled its line-up of interactive Spider-Man 3 toys, including a "hand-held Battle Tronics device that straps to the inside of a player’s wrist and mimics Spidey’s web-slinging motions", which would come out in spring in time for the film's release.
On October 21, 2006, producer Grant Curtis announced on the official movie blog that he was working on a book that would detail the account of bringing Spider-Man 3 to the screen. The book, published by Chronicle Books in time for the release of Spider-Man 3, will contain "chapters on the script, casting, production design, costume design and visual effects and will include a day-by-day journal Curtis wrote while filming".
Peter David is writing a novelization set for release on March 27, 2007. In addition, Sony is releasing several children's books through Harper Entertainment Publishing in April. The books were among the first products to feature Venom's film appearance, which maintains the webbing design found on Spider-Man's costume.
Hasbro, which holds the license for Marvel characters, will release several toys to tie-in with the film. They are expected to release a deluxe spinning web blaster, along with 3 different action figures. Toys of the Green Goblin and Doctor Octopus from the first two films will be re-released, as will toys of the Lizard, the Scorpion and the Rhino in a style reminiscent of the films.
In January 2007, Sideshow Collectibles gained the rights to produce Spider-Man 3 collectibles. Sideshow's distribution arrangement with Medicom Toy Corporation would unveil 12-inch figures and vinyl collectible figures of the film's characters. The company also released images of the Venom collectible figure, priced at $99.
In an August 2006 interview with MTV, Marvel producer Kevin Feige anticipated more sequels to the Spider-Man films "because of the wealth of stories in the comics." However, Feige stated that Tobey Maguire may not return to portray Spider-Man in the future. In addition, Maguire expressed the sentiment that the film franchise could not continue as strongly in the future. "I'm not sure if there are more stories for this character that are interesting enough to be excited about doing more," said Maguire. With his contract expiring with Spider-Man 3, the actor said, "I am not completely closed to the idea of another one if it made sense but I would say the odds were in favor of this being the last one." Kirsten Dunst said she would only be interested in being back for another sequel if director Sam Raimi returned to the helm. J. K. Simmons said, about future sequels, that Raimi was "certainly open to doing more". Raimi told Premiere magazine that he "couldn't imagine" doing more sequels to the Spider-Man films without Tobey Maguire in the title role, but refused to completely rule out directing any future installments. Maguire said the film ties up a lot of storylines and "is a natural point for the team to break up". On the other hand, Avi Arad feels that some issues come to an end, but due to the character's age and his complex love life, the story is still continuous.
In January 2007, Columbia Pictures entered negotiations with screenwriter David Koepp, who is credited with the first Spider-Man screenplay, to pen the script for a fourth film, which would be released in 2009 or 2010.