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Sony Pictures is Making a Big $4 Billion Bet on the Spider-Man Franchise

Columbia Pictures, a division of Sony Pictures Entertainment (SNE - Get Report), revealed its new release strategy Wednesday at the opening of Comic-Con, a nearly $4 billion bet by the beleaguered film studio in the Spider-Man franchise.

Franchise fatigue and competition for superheroes have been hurdles for this movie empire to climb in the past, but today it announced several new films allowing for story development and new characters -- all ultimately leading up to the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 3 in 2018 -- two years later than previously planned.

Sinister Six, the next film in line for the superhero franchise, is scheduled to hit theaters on November 11, 2016, written and directed by Drew Goddard and produced by Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach.

"With Sinister Six in the hands of writer-director Drew Goddard, we feel extremely confident placing the film on a prime date in 2016," Doug Belgrad, president of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said in a press statement.

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The super villains of Sinister Six, including Doctor Octopus, Electro, Kraven the Hunter, Mysterio, Sandman and the Vulture, were drawn from Spider-Man's list of enemies, and Sony hopes to expand the Spider-Man universe prior to the 2018 release date by bringing in these new characters.

Uncharted, another highly anticipated project, especially for video game fanatics, will be released June 10, 2016, when The Amazing Spider-Man 3 was originally scheduled to open in theaters.

This movie is based on a PlayStation® video game series, which follows the adventures of treasure hunter Nathan Drake - a top-selling, action packed game winner for Sony Computer Entertainment America, LLC.

Uncharted will be directed by Seth Gordon, written by David Guggenheim, and it will be an Arad/Atlas Entertainment Production, produced by Charles Roven, Avi Arad, Alex Gartner and Ari Arad. According to director Seth Gordon the script is in "a really good place," and the action-adventure film should ultimately benefit the Spider-Man superhero franchise.

The Amazing Spider-Man 2 debuted back in May of 2014, bringing in $91 million opening weekend but with a hefty price to pay -- $255 million. The film expects to grow more through 2018, but maybe this updated release strategy is exactly what the franchise needs in order to raise brand awareness and conquer the competition.

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