Marc Webb has officially signed on to direct the third movie in Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man franchise for release in June 2016, Variety reported Tuesday. The news comes with over two months before The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is released on May 2, 2014, a movie that has had heavy promotion from Sony with two three-minute plus trailers accompanying two shorter trailers and already multiple TV spots. The heavy promotion comes because of Sony's plans for expansion of the franchise beyond just the Amazing series.
As reported in December, Sony Pictures hired on a "Spidey Braintrust" including Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Drew Goddard, and Ed Solomon. Kurtzman has signed on as both a writer and director for the first planned spin-off, Venom, while Goddard will likely helm The Sinister Six after writing the film.
But Sony Pictures Entertainment's plans don't stop there, and we could see those spin-offs sooner than fans might anticipate. Sony Pictures co-chairman Amy Pascal told Variety that they are moving forward with those new films "so that we have Spider-Man movies every year."
Now, considering there has been no production work and only some writing on the first two spin-offs, it stands to reason that a 2015 release (unless they went for the fall) is unlikely for those, meaning the yearly Spider-Man features would kick off with June 2016's The Amazing Spider-Man 3, and then continue with Venom and Sinister Six filling in the time until a likely The Amazing Spider-Man 4. Of course, Sony Pictures may not want to sit on a film that long if they like what they see from their braintrust, so a 2015 villain-based movie is still possible.
Of course, this is Sony taking a page from rival playbooks. Marvel Studios currently produces and releases two films a year, and show no signs of stopping, with 2014 seeing Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy, 2015 seeing Avengers: Age of Ultron and Ant-Man, and rumors flying about 2016 and beyond. Of course, the difference there is that Marvel has virtually all the other characters in their comic book stable, versus just one small corner of the universe with Spider-Man.
Fox, meanwhile, is looking to release yearly superhero films, most likely alternating between X-Men and The Fantastic Four, with the former releasing films this May and in 2016, and the latter in Summer of 2015. Fox has also teased that they'd like several smaller-budget X-Men movies based primarily on solo characters to go into production, meaning that half of their Marvel franchise alone could go yearly as well.
Marvel's sister company Lucasfilm (also owned by Disney) has also announced plans for yearly movies in their Star Wars franchise. They're taking a similar route to what Sony has planned, with "Episode" films interspersed by other in-universe tales such as origin stories for some of their most popular characters.
There is such a thing as market saturation, but no one studio is going to pull back until that happens. Last year's Iron Man 3 was another billion-dollar success for Marvel Studios, while Sony's rebooted The Amazing Spider-Man did $750 million in the box office the year before, so it doesn't seem to have hit yet.
Across the proverbial street, Warner Bros says they have multiple DC Comics movies in various stages of development, but only one, the as-yet untitled Man of Steel sequel featuring Batman and Wonder Woman (possibly among others) has a release date, and not until 2016, making it three years after the original. They own all of the DC properties, with none ever having been farmed out to third-parties, but it seems they are more focused on TV adaptations at the moment, with Arrow on the air, and Gotham, Constantine, The Flash, Hourman, I, Zombie and Preacher all in-development, most for the 2014-2015 season.