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Tuesday, May 7, 2002


Sony's Columbia Pictures announced on Monday that production on Spider-Man 2 will begin early next year, with a release date of May 7, 2004.

With box-office receipts totaling $114,844,116, Spider-Man has become the highest grossing debut in motion picture history, it was announced today by Jeff Blake, President of Worldwide Marketing and Distribution for Columbia TriStar Motion Picture Group.

"It took a superhero to deliver these historic numbers," Blake said. "The magnitude of this achievement is staggering by every standard and Spider-Man's success is a wonderful tribute to a character that has meant so much to so many people for the past 40 years. The cast and filmmakers were dedicated to Stan Lee's imaginative vision, and Sam Raimi, Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst deserve our thanks and all the credit for bringing Spider-Man to life in such a magnificent, memorable and exciting way."

In other Spider-Man movie news:

* Maguire appeared on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno on Monday.

"I'm thrilled," he said of the film's performance. "This is really surreal, actually. I can't believe what's happened this weekend. Everybody's so giddy, and my phone's been ringing off the hook. I don't even know what's going on."

Maguire said he had 40-50 congratulatory phone messages.

"It's kind of fun because I have a friend in Sacramento who called and said, 'Oh, I saw the film up here and it was almost impossible to get in and people are dressed up in Spider-Man costumes,'" Maguire said. "Other people are calling from New York, like, 'We just got out of the show and it was unreal.' There's all this energy from all over the country. It's pretty amazing."

Maguire said he snuck into a couple of theaters in Los Angeles on Friday night that were showing Spider-Man.

"I love going to a film that's like an event film that everybody's anticipating because the audience is full of energy and it's fun to experience it," Maguire said. "To be part of that is a lot of fun."

* During an appearance on The Howard Stern Show that aired on E! on Monday, Maguire dodged questions about his personal relationship with Dunst, but noted Peter Parker's love life might be more complicated in the sequel.

"I'm probably going to have another girl, too on the next movie," Maguire said. "I don't know (who), but I'm just saying I think we're going to bring another girl in.

"Not bad for Peter Parker. Everybody says he's a nerd, but if you look back through the comics, he's got Gwen Stacey and Mary Jane Watson and Betty Brant - a lot of chicks! I can't believe it."

* The film's record-setting performance still stunned those involved on Monday.

"This is beyond anything that anyone could anticipate," producer Laura Ziskin told E!. "We never, in our wildest dreams, expected the result that we got this weekend."

Talking to Entertainment Tonight, Ziskin said, "By Sunday, we were numb."

"After the first opening day, I was walking down the street and like, I have never been noticed so much," said Dunst during an appearance on Live with Regis and Kelly.

Marvel Studios' Avi Arad judged the reaction from the back of the theaters.

"As soon as the credits roll, with the roar of the crowd, it was like, 'Wow, something is happening here,'" Arad told Access Hollywood.

Said Ben Affleck, who is currently filming Daredevil: "That's it. The whole economy is going to have to shift now."

* Dunst will be a guest on NBC's Late Night with Conan O'Brien on Thursday.


Marvel has announced that it has received a "substantial," seven-figure advance for the Spider-Man sequel, as well as a targeted August 2003 release for The Punisher movie.

The Spider-Man announcement was made by Marvel Enterprises CEO Peter Cuneo.

"We said last week that the Spider-Man movie would usher in the Golden Age of Marvel," Cuneo said. "While we had great confidence in the potential of the Spider-Man motion picture, no one could have predicted the remarkable, record-breaking success the film has achieved in its opening weekend. We are extremely grateful for the creative achievement of our own Avi Arad, executive producer of the film, director Sam Raimi, producer Laura Ziskin, and the many extraordinary talents who contributed to the film.

"As the head of Marvel Studios, Avi Arad has always believed that our characters would be Hollywood celebrities and it is his pursuit and realization of this dream that has made this day so special. We are also very grateful to the many executives at Sony/Columbia Pictures for their dedication in bringing one of our premiere characters to life, and executing a superb, record-setting marketing strategy."

Marvel will continue to reap the benefits of the Spider-Man movie as the company has a gross participation from dollar one in the box office as well as earns revenue from the DVD sales and the pay-per-view, cable and network television deals. The company also generates revenue from the licensing and merchandising of the movie -- including the toys, action figures and accessories from the company's internal toy division, Toy Biz.

"Spider-Man validates our new corporate strategy. Marvel is a multi-faceted entertainment company and it is structured to effectively leverage our big theatrical events and profit from each of them in a number of ways - from the film and licensing, to our comic book and toy businesses," Cuneo said. "Additionally, we are focused on developing strategies for each of our characters that will help ensure their long-term success and profitability."

Licensing plans are already underway for the X-Men sequel - X2. Production is planned to start on June 1 and the film is scheduled to hit theaters on May 2, 2003. Entertainment Weekly has reported that Nightcrawler will be one of the new characters in the film.

Licensing and production are also underway for The Hulk, directed by Ang Lee and expected to open on June 20, 2003.

Daredevil, starring Ben Affleck, is currently in production and scheduled for a Jan. 17 release date. New Line Cinema is in preparation for Blade 3.

Jonathan Hensleigh is writing and directing The Punisher, which is part of Marvel's deal with Artisan Entertainment.


During an appearance on TechTV, Stan Lee said that he's filmed a cameo in Daredevil and will be filming another one for The Hulk soon.

"I have a much more crucial role," Lee joked. "I can't tell you because it will spoil the substance of the whole movie."

Lee was asked why super-hero movies seem to the rage now.

"Because now they can really photograph them so much better than they could have in the past, what with the state of the art now," Lee said. "I was talking with some directors the other day and they said, 'Y'know Stan, today there is nothing that anybody can imagine that we cannot put on the screen.'

"Well, when you think about it, all of these super-hero characters, they're all fantastic, they're spectacular, they require great special effects and now we can do them right."


IDW Publishing has announced the availability of two Ashley Wood convention posters.

The 12-inch by 36-inch posters can be purchased directly from IDW at their website ( or from the company at this year's San Diego Comic-Con.

"We premiered the posters at Wonder Con and the response was great. Since not everyone will make it to the San Diego Comic-Con, we're also offering them for sale at our website," said Ted Adams, IDW's Publisher.

The posters can be purchased individually for $15 or $25 for the pair.


"Day of Reckoning," a two-part season finale of X-Men: Evolution, will air on Saturday on Kids' WB!.

Below are screen grabs from the episode. Click on the thumbnails for larger, fuller images, and look for more on "Day of Reckoning" later this week here in The Continuum.


  • Marvel has released a preview of its upcoming Weapon X series, by Frank Tieri and Georges Jeanty.

  • Brian Hibbs, a San Francisco-based comics retailer, said he is the lead plaintiff in a Class Action suit filed today in New York Supreme Court on behalf of all American comic book retailers against publisher Marvel Enterprises, Inc. The suit alleges that Marvel has repeatedly breached its Terms of Sale in its dealing with American comic book specialty stores.

    For more details, CLICK HERE.

  • Coming Wednesday: Marvel news - and much more!!!
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