Sony Axes ‘Spider-Man’ Project, Shifts Focus to Male Fans

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Miles Morales staring at the original Spider-Man suit

Credit: Sony Pictures Animation

Recently, multiple female-led superhero projects have been released to less-than-stellar reception, leading to some questionable decisions by the studios.

Madame Web, a film following the clairvoyant character from the Spider-Man franchise, was released on February 14 to negative critical reception and a worse box-office performance than 2022’s Morbius. On the other hand, The Marvels, a project with a $270 million dollar budget, had the worst Marvel Cinematic Universe box-office performance of all time. Now, in response, it seems Sony is taking steps in a different direction with their next two Spider-Man projects.

Dakota Johnson, Sydney Sweeney, and Isabella Merced on the poster for Madame Web
Credit: Sony Pictures

Silk: Spider Society is a project currently planned for streaming on Amazon Prime that would ostensibly revolve around Silk, aka Cindy Moon. Moon is a character in the Marvel comic books who got her powers after being bitten by the same radioactive spider that bit Peter Parker and turned him into Spider-Man. The show was being led by The Walking Dead showrunner and producer Angela Kang and could have been a way for Sony to tie in as many of the Spider-Man characters as they wanted. However, sources at The Ankler say that the entire writer’s room at Silk has been let go, and the show will go forward focusing more on a male audience. According to The Ankler, Amazon had no comment, and it’s unclear what this new direction could look like.

The Silk overhaul follows a similar decision made by Marvel last year to completely scrap the long-awaited Daredevil: Born Again series, both of which are now occurring after last year’s actors’ and writers’ strikes, which forced several studios to do some internal rearranging. However, whereas Daredevil’s decision was made based on early negative feedback on the script and show direction, it’s unfortunate if the decision to scrap Silk comes from wanting to cater to a male-centric audience.

Silk (Cindy Moon) Spider-Man comics
Credit: Marvel

This news of Silk’s abandonment comes hot on the heels of the hugely underwhelming performance of Madame Web, and it’s hard not to wonder if there’s a connection. There is an undeniably large female audience for superhero content, and Marvel fans come in all shapes and sizes; however, it’s much easier for companies to look at their viewers as demographics and statistics rather than individuals. 

As the female-led The Marvels severely underperformed during its theatrical run, partially due to online hatred for Captain Marvel star Brie Larson, the film found its audience after its Disney+ release, enjoying a wildly successful streaming premiere. However, online opinions can certainly be some of the loudest, and Marvel can’t afford to take many more losses after the struggles it faced in 2023. Neither can Sony with its own live-action Spider-Man Universe, which has failed to connect with audiences since the release of Morbius in 2022.

Spider-Man Noir
Credit: Sony Pictures

Conversely, there are rumors that Spider-Man Noir is picking up steam as Nicolas Cage is rumored to join the project and reprise the role of his 1930s version of Spider-Man from the Spider-Verse movie franchise. Noir is another Sony/Amazon project that may serve to keep the Spider-Verse universe alive and relevant as we await the final film installment in the series, which is currently expected to be released sometime in 2025.

This update comes as Marvel dropped several big announcements this week, including the trailer for Deadpool & Wolverine, the official cast and first look at the Fantastic Four adaptation, and the trailer for Disney+’s X-Men 97. Speculation online suggests that Marvel may have done this as a concerted effort to direct attention away from the Madame Web flop and cover up its disappointing release.

Silk posing in a comic book cover
Credit: Marvel Comics

Sony is clearly trying to figure out the best formula to draw audiences after Madame Web’s dismal performance, but it may not be a good thing for female superhero fans. While showrunner Angela Kang is still attached to Silk and still expected to honor her multi-year contract with Amazon, we’ll just have to see what kind of web she’ll spin for the series to get back on track and see as successful of a release as Noir just might have with Nic Cage.

What do you think about the Sony/Amazon Spider-Man updates? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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