This past weekend, "Spider-Man: Homecoming" opened to $117 million, above the $114.8 million debut of the first "Spider-Man" back in 2002. Although the latest installment falls behind when adjusting for inflation, the $100 million-plus debut of "Homecoming" still represents a big win for Sony Corp. (SNE - Get Report) , especially because it represents the second time the series had been rebooted in the past five years. Tobey Maguire wore the red spandex from 2002-2007, and British actors Andrew Garfield and Tom Holland have tackled the role since. TheStreet takes a look at all three actors that have portrayed your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man to varying degrees of success for Sony.
1. Tobey Maguire -- "Spider-Man" (2002), "Spider-Man 2" (2004), "Spider-Man 3" (2007)
Tobey Maguire was the first actor to play Peter Parker, and in many fan's minds he will forever be the embodiment of Spider-Man. Although Maguire was 26 when the first Spider-Man was released in theaters in 2002, audiences turned out en masse to see him play high school student Peter Parker. The first "Spider-Man" film opened to $114.8 million domestically ($174.7 million adjusting for inflation), which was an opening weekend record at the time. "Spider-Man" ultimately grossed $403.7 million domestically ($614.2 million adjusted for inflation) and $821.7 million worldwide, making Maguire's reported $4 million salary for the film look like chump change.
Maguire received a larger pay day for "Spider-Man 2" (reportedly $17.5 million and 5% of the back end), and the superhero sequel excelled at the box office with a $373.6 million domestic gross ($531.8 million adjusted for inflation) and a $783.8 million global gross in 2004. The actor sweetened the back-end deal for less money upfront for "Spider-Man 3," making $15 million plus a 7.5% back-end deal. The third film ended up setting a new opening weekend record with an $151.1 million domestic debut ($194.2 million adjusted for inflation) and grossed a franchise-record $890.9 million worldwide.
Unfortunately, "Spider-Man 3" was criticized for being too long and overstuffed with villains, and plans for a fourth film fell apart after director Sam Raimi and Sony reportedly had creative differences. The studio instead decided to go the reboot route, and Maguire turned his attention to more dramatic projects such as 2009's "Brothers" and 2013's "The Great Gatsby." The Tobey Maguire "Spider-Man" films cumulatively grossed nearly $2.5 billion at the global box office.
The Spider-Man spandex was next passed onto Andrew Garfield, who had long been a fan of the comic books but was also a bit old to play a high school student ("The Amazing Spider-Man" came out a month before Garfield's 30th birthday). Nonetheless, then up-and-comer Garfield was praised for his performance in the title role and his chemistry with real-life girlfriend Emma Stone, who portrayed Spider-Man love interest Gwen Stacy in the film. "The Amazing Spider-Man" opened over the Fourth of July holiday in 2012 and ultimately brought in $262 million domestically ($297.7 million adjusted for inflation). The worldwide gross of $757.9 million was only slightly behind previous "Spider-Man" movies and represented a win for Sony. Garfield was reportedly only paid a $500,000 salary for his role in the film, more than Gal Gadot recently earned for "Wonder Woman" but a fraction of Tobey Maguire's salary.
Garfield almost certainly received a pay raise for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (although no numbers are available), but the sequel did not see a corresponding box office bump. Like "Spider-Man 3," the second movie in the Andrew Garfield series was criticized for being overambitious and merely functioning as a stage-setter for future installments. The film grossed $202.9 million domestically ($215.4 million adjusted for inflation) and $709 million worldwide -- less than any other "Spider-Man" film. After the tepid response, Sony scrapped plans for future movies with Garfield, even though two more installments prematurely had been dated for 2016 and 2018. Garfield has since found success with last year's hit war film "Hacksaw Ridge," a role that garnered him his first Oscar nomination. The Andrew Garfield "Amazing Spider-Man" films cumulatively grossed nearly $1.5 billion at the global box office.
Desperate for a fresh way to revive their cornerstone franchise, Sony executives turned to the hottest superhero franchise in the industry -- Walt Disney Co.'s (DIS - Get Report) Marvel Studios. The two corporate giants reached an agreement in 2015 that gave Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige sway over the creative direction of Spider-Man, as well as permission to have the web-slinger appear in future Marvel films. It was agreed that financing duties as well as box office revenue from "Spider-Man" films would go to Sony while Disney would keep the merchandising revenue.
Later that year, 19-year-old actor Tom Holland was cast as the teen superhero, a more believable marriage of actor and part then previous iterations of Peter Parker. Almost immediately after Holland's casting he was flown to the set of "Captain America: Civil War" to play a supporting role in the film, which was widely praised following the movie's release. The introduction in "Civil War" got audiences excited about a new Spider-Man that would fight alongside the Avengers, and the shrewdness of Sony and Disney's collaboration showed this past weekend with the big $257 million global opening for Spider-Man standalone feature "Homecoming." The film made $117 million in North America and seems poised to prosper throughout the rest of the summer thanks to positive word-of-mouth and light competition for family audiences.
Holland is signed to a six-picture deal with Marvel Studios and will have his third go-round as Peter Parker in next year's "Avengers: Infinity War." With the wide embrace of Holland as Spider-Man as well as a supporting cast of Marvel heroes now at its disposal, Sony will probably not have to reboot the series again for a very long time.
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