As Amy Pascal prepares to exit the Sony Pictures executive ranks, box-office analysts' spider-senses have been picking up trouble -- a lack of sure blockbusters coming from the studio.
But with the help of Marvel, Sony appears to be spinning a new web for its key Spider-Man franchise. The company said late Monday that it is teaming with Marvel for a new Spider-Man movie set for the summer of 2017.
Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will also appear in a Marvel film. Sony also said it is working with Marvel to explore "opportunities of integrate" other Marvel Cinematic Universe characters into future Spider-Man movie.
The deal brings some clarity to speculation about Sony Pictures' plans to reinvigorate a key franchise -- one of its only major franchises beside the James Bond films.
Other than this year's 007 movie "Specter," Sony's near-future slate looks light on the kind of branded-entertainment action movies that are safe bets to deliver the big box-office returns the industry is looking for.
This year's slate includes a plethora of original one-offs that could work but aren't sure things. Among them are the sci-fi film "Chappie," Robert Zemeckis' "The Walk," and "Goosebumps" starring Jack Black.
As for this year's sequels, there's "Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2" and "Hotel Transylvania 2."
And after all, Spider-Man likely could use some retooling. The most recent franchise installment, "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," took in less in ticket sales than its predecessor, and that's a troubling sign.
The latest James Bond movie, coming this fall, marks a welcome entry given the success of 2012's "Skyfall," which took in more than $1.1 billion worldwide.
Besides that, "there isn't that much in the pipeline," veteran analyst Harold Vogel told The Times last week, "and they're going to have to rebuild that."
If the Marvel-Sony partnership works, they'll be well on their way.
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