The Sundance Film Festival, Hollywood’s bastion of independent film, kicked off on Thursday night. And while, thus far, few films have been picked up for distribution—the only major deal was Senator Entertainment’s acquisition of Antoine Fuqua’s Brooklyn’s Finest, starring Richard Gere, Wesley Snipes, Don Cheadle and Ethan Hawke—that doesn’t mean it has been a slow five days in Park City. Apparently, if you’re looking for news about big Hollywood sequels, there’s no place better than Utah! MTV spoke with actor J. K. Simmons, presumably on hand to promote one of the 73 movies he has coming up within the next year (actually only nine), and he revealed that plans for Spider-Man 4 are moving full steam ahead with a May 2011 release in mind. His source? Director Sam Raimi himself, whom Mr. Simmons saw at the director’s Christmas party late last year. Sounds reliable enough to us!
Before The Dark Knight eviscerated all the competition last July, Spider-Man 3 had the honor of owning the largest opening weekend ever, grossing $151 million dollars during its initial weekend in May of 2007. But whereas The Dark Knight has taken its huge opening salvo and gone on to gross over $530 million, Spider-man 3 topped out at only $336 million, most likely because it was clearly the worst of the three Spider-Man films. And while the assumption is that most of the original gang will return for another sequel, one of the biggest potential problems for the film is that the original gang will return for another sequel. By the time Spider-Man 4 hits theaters, star Tobey Maguire will be just shy of his 36th birthday; not too old to be an excellent actor for many years to come, but certainly too old to be donning the teenage tights of Peter Parker. Call us crazy, but it might be time to reboot the entire series and start from scratch.
Meanwhile, MTV (there goes that news van again!) spoke with director Spike Lee about his proposed Inside Man sequel. The film is back on track somewhat, after an initial script by original writer Russell Gewirtz was scrapped—we can only assume that Mr. Lee saw Mr. Gewirtz’s work on Righteous Kill and changed his mind about the entire thing. Now writer-director Terry George has taken over scripting duties and, according to Mr. Lee, he is close to completing the sequel. The director didn’t offer any word on plot specifics, but he’s hopeful that scheduling will allow most of the original cast to return. As major fans of the first Inside Man, consider us a tad weary about the prospects of a sequel, if only because while Terry George has hit home runs with his scripts for Hotel Rwanda and In the Name of the Father, he’s also responsible for the outrageously bad Reservation Road. It is unclear which Terry George will show up here. Mr. Lee expects to start shooting in the early fall, so we could have our answers about Inside Man 2 sometime in 2010.