Move That Release Date – And Make Way For Miles Morales
Sony announcing a supervillain-led movie and rushing it without a full creative team in place reminds me of a recent comic book movie that made those decisions – Suicide Squad – and that’s definitely not in a good way. While I still got a kick out of the mayhem brought about by DC’s “worst heroes ever”, I will be the first to wholeheartedly admit that it would have been a much better movie all-around if they had spent more time developing the film after announcing it instead of trying to fast-track it for an existing release window – and even the movie’s director agrees on that front. Warner Brothers has seemingly learned from that mistake if the delays that have been placed on The Flash and The Batman are of any indication (both of which apparently suffered from messy pre-productions leading up to said delays). As of right now, Venom is looking to have about the same amount of development time placed upon it as Suicide Squad, only they don’t have a director, a star, or an existing cinematic universe to piggyback off of. Sony really needs to take a good, long look at history before they resign themselves to repeating it.
On a more optimistic note, the same situation can be applied to Deadpool, another film about a psychopathic Marvel character; that movie was greenlit after an overwhelmingly positive response to leaked test footage and was released a year and a half later to continued praise. However, I would argue that Deadpool caught lightning in a bottle – the movie had the right team of people behind it that were absolutely enthusiastic about the film. Ryan Reynolds was already a huge fan of the character, and the movie’s writers and were huge comic book fans as well – and more importantly, this team was assembled before the movie was even greenlit. Venom, in the meantime, has a few writers, no director, no star, and only eighteen months to get the film made, most likely without the support of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to prop it up. As it stands, I think it’s incredibly unlikely that Venom is going to meet this predetermined release date, and Sony should offer no pretense that they’re going to make it in time. There’s an old saying in Hollywood between producers that goes along the lines of “On time, on budget, good. Pick two.” It’s abundantly clear that Sony needs to focus on the last two, because it’s incredibly unlikely that they’re going to meet this release date and have the picture be good and on budget.
Outside of all this is the fact that Sony already has a Spider-Man movie in development this year – the animated Miles Morales: Ultimate Spider-Man movie that’s currently looking to have a Christmas release. (One which will now, amusingly enough, have to compete with Aquaman to some degree, although The LEGO Batman Movie going up against Logan proves that there’s room for superhero movies targeting different demographics to succeed all around.) While the movie is still missing its cast, it’s got an extremely promising team working on it, including Bob Persichetti (Shrek 2, The Little Prince) and Peter Ramsey (Rise Of The Guardians) as directors and a story written by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller (Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, The LEGO Movie), and Alex Hirsch (Gravity Falls). Given that there were a vocal minority of fans who wanted the MCU’s Spider-Man to be Miles Morales instead of Peter Parker, there’s actually tangible demand for the movie while there really hasn’t been any for a standalone Venom movie, much less one set outside of the MCU’s continuity. Sony should forget about releasing two Spider-Man movies in the same year and just focus on the one that’s been in development for a much longer time – especially since it has a lot more potential. In the meantime, pushing Venom back to get their ducks in a row is their best course of action if they’re really serious about wanting to give the character the same kind of treatment that they look to be giving Miles Morales.