September 7, 2008 / 3:17 AM / 12 years ago

Two more "Spider-Man" films on the way

Actor Tobey Maguire shakes hands with fans while making an appearance on NBC's "Today" show in New York April 30, 2007. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

LOS ANGELES (Hollywood Reporter) - Tobey Maguire and “Spider-Man” director Sam Raimi plan to reunite for the fourth and fifth installments of Columia Pictures’ comic book franchise, dispelling speculation that a new actor would play the crime-fighter.

“The studio never considered any other actor. Tobey was our only choice and the only person we’ve discussed the role with,” said studio spokesman Steve Elzer.

In hopes of containing costs, Columbia is considering shooting the films back-to-back starting in fall 2009, much like New Line did with “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy, which filmed simultaneously for 274 days. Laura Ziskin, who will produce with Avi Arad, had said she would like to aim for a May 2011 release for “Spider-Man 4,” nine years after the original movie’s debut.

Jamie Vanderbilt (“Zodiac”) is writing the screenplay.

“Spider-Man” is Columbia’s most successful movie franchise; the first three films have grossed $2.5 billion worldwide.

The Sony-owned studio declined comment on what villains might appear in the next two films or whether Kirsten Dunst would reprise her role as Mary Jane Watson, though it is hoped she will follow Maguire’s lead and return.

Sony also has stepped up development of the “Spider-Man” spinoff “Venom.” Topher Grace played Venom in 2007’s “Spider-Man 3,” but it’s unclear whether Sony would cast him for the “Venom” feature or bring in new talent.

Reuters/Hollywood Reporter

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