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Spider-Man
Spider-Man (James Cameron)
Directed by: James Cameron
Produced by: James Cameron

Menahem Golan

Screenplay by: James Cameron (Scriptment version), (Submitted Unrevised Doc Ock Draft) Bore names:

Written by:

Barry Cohen and Ted Newson and James Cameron

Revision by:

Joseph Goldmari and James Cameron and John Brancato

Based on the
Characters by:
Stan Lee &
Steve Ditko
Starring: Leonardo Dicaprio
Distributed by: Carolco Pictures
Preceeded By: Spider-Man: The Dragon's Challenge

Spider-Man was a planned, but ultimately failed film was to be directed by James Cameron in the mid 1990's. Several plot element from Cameron's scriptment were kept by David Koepp in his script for the 2002 film Spider-Man.

DevelopmentEdit

In 1990, Carolco Pictures originally bought the rights to Spider-Man from Menahem Golan for 5 million and were planning a 50 million budget version of the film. Carolco then hired James Cameron to write, direct produce, but Carolco wouldn't pay if Cameron submitted a script. Toward the end of shooting True Lies, Variety carried the announcement that Carolco Pictures had received a completed screenplay from James Cameron.This script bore the names of James Cameron, John Brancato, Ted Newsom, Barry [sic] Cohen and "Joseph Goldmari", a typographical scrambling of Golan's pen name ("Joseph Goldman") with Marvel executive Joseph Calamari. The script text was identical to the one Golan submitted to Columbia the previous year, with the addition of a new 1993 date. Cameron stalwart Arnold Schwarzenegger was frequently linked to the project as the director's choice for Dr. Octopus. Months later, James Cameron submitted an undated 47-page "scriptment" with an alternate story (the copyright registration was dated 1991), part screenplay, part narrative story outline. The "scriptment" told the Spider-Man origin, but used variations on the comic book characters Electro and Sandman as villains. This "Electro" (named Carlton Strand, instead of Max Dillion) was a megalomaniacal parody of corrupt capitalists. Instead of Flint Marko's character, Cameron’s "Sandman" (simply named Boyd) is mutated by an accident involving Philadelphia Experiment-style bilocation and atom-mixing, in lieu of getting caught in a nuclear blast on a beach. The story climaxes with a battle atop the World Trade Center and had Peter Parker revealing his identity to Mary Jane Watson. In addition, the treatment was also heavy on profanity, and had Spider-Man and Mary Jane having sex on the Brooklyn Bridge.

This treatment reflected elements in previous scripts: from Leslie Stevens's treatment, organic web-shooters, and a villain who tempts Spider-Man to join a coming "master race" of mutants; from the original screenplay and rewrite, weird electrical storms causing blackouts, freak magnetic events and bi-location; from Ethan Wiley's draft, a villain addicted to toxic super-powers and multiple experimental spiders, one of which escapes and bites Peter, causing an hallucinatory nightmare invoking Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis; from Frank LaLoggia's treatment, a blizzard of stolen cash fluttering down onto surprised New Yorkers; and from Neil Ruttenberg's screenplay, a criminal assault on the NYC Stock Exchange. In 1991, Carolco Pictures extended Golan’s option agreement with Marvel through May 1996, but in April 1992, Carolco ceased active production on Spider-Man due to continued financial and legal problems. 

Litigation Edit

When James Cameron agreed to make Spider-Man, Carolco lawyers simply used his previous Terminator 2 contract as a template. A clause in this agreement gave Cameron the right to decide on movie and advertising credits. Show business trade articles and advertisements made no mention of Golan, who was still actively assembling the elements for the film. In 1993, Golan complained publicly and finally instigated legal action against Carolco for disavowing his contractual guarantee credit as producer. On the other hand, Cameron had the contractual right to decide on credits. Eventually, Carolco sued Viacom and Columbia to recover broadcast and home video rights, and the two studios countersued. 20th Century Fox, though not part of the litigation, contested Cameron’s participation, claiming exclusivity on his services as a director under yet another contract. In 1996, Carolco, 21st Century, and Marvel went bankrupt.

Via a quitclaim from Carolco dated March 28, 1995, MGM acquired 21st Century's film library and assets, and received "...all rights in and to all drafts and versions of the screenplay(s) for Spider-Man written by James Cameron, Ted Newsom & John Brancato, Menahem Golan, Jon [sic] Michael Paul, Ethan Wiley, Leslie Stevens, Frank Laloggia, Neil Ruttenberg, Barney Cohen, Shepard Goldman and any and all other writers."MGM also sued 21st Century, Viacom, and Marvel Comics, alleging fraud in the original deal between Cannon and Marvel. In 1998, Marvel emerged from bankruptcy with a reorganization plan that merged the company with Toy Biz. The courts determined that the original contract of Marvel's rights to Golan had expired, returning the rights to Marvel, but the matter was still not completely resolved. In 1999, Marvel licensed Spider-Man rights to Columbia, a subsidiary of Sony Pictures Entertainment. MGM disputed the legality, claiming it had the Spider-Man rights via Cannon, 21st Century, and Carolco.

CastEdit

  • Leonardo DiCaprio as Peter Parker/Spider-Man
  • Lance Henricksen as Carlton Strand/Electro
  • Michael Biehn as Boyd/Sandman
  • Arnold Schwarzenneger as Otto Octavius/Dr. Octopus
  • Robyn Lively as Mary Jane Watson
  • Maggie Smith as Aunt May
  • R. Lee Emery as J. Jonah Jameson

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