The Amazing Spider-Man, is a 2012 action-adventure fantasy blockbuster, it is a reboot of Sam Raimi's 2002-07 Spiderman trilogy that starred Toby Maguire as Peter Parker. It is based on the Marvel Comics popular character Spider-Man and shares the title of the character's longest-running comic book of the same name. It is directed by Marc Webb (famous before this film for his massive success with the film (500) Days of Summer which grossed 27 times the cost of the original budget). It stars the spectacular Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker, the fabulous Emma Stone as Gwen Stacy and the wonderfully talented Rhys Ifans as Dr. Curt Connors, who is better known as a mutating lizard. The film was produced by Columbia Pictures (a member of the Big Six, they co-produced the 2002-07 Spiderman films. They have also co-produced many other films such as Peter Pan, The Holiday and 13 Going on 30 to name a few). It was also produced by Marvel Entertainment (their films include projects such as the Thor films and the Iron Man films), and smaller studios- Laura Ziskin Productions, Arad Productions, inc. and Matt Tolmach Productions. It is the seventh highest-grossing film of 2013, and- as of December 2013- the 51st highest-grossing of all time.
To be a success a blockbuster has to comply with 4 rules:
1) A newsworthy budget- over $130 million dollars, yep, that's a big budget
2) Spectacular visuals- we've got to see that budget make an impact on the screen
3) Strangely- it must NOT be a comedy
4) Lastly, it must include an 'A list' star- we're talking our Johnny Depp's, Leonardo Di Caprio's and our Angelina Jolie's
We are going to take a look at how The Amazing Spider-Man fairs with these rules and why it was successful.
Well, to start with, The Amazing Spider-Man certainly had a newsworthy budget- $230 million, yes, you heard me correctly, $230 million! $100 million above the normal blockbuster budget! So yes, The Amazing Spider-Man definitely complies with this rule. As we know, the bigger the budget, the bigger the profit- well that is true, especially in this case, the film profited greatly, grossing $757,930,663 worldwide. So one of the main factors of this film's success is it's large budget, and subsequently it's massive profit.
Right- to the second rule- the film has got to have spectacular visuals, and this film does not disappoint. It was the first Hollywood film to be filmed with the Red Digital Cinema Camera Company's RED Epic camera and was shot in 3-D at 5K resolution. John Schwartzman, cinematographer, felt that the desired 3D effect this film needed would have been impossible without this camera, these were the right kind of cameras to use to get the feel of the speed of the film. This made the film feel more real to the audience and enabled them to connect with it more, contributing to it's success.
Special effects include the Lizard and a digital touch-up. The visual designers brought the Lizard to life by building a digital version of a production design maquette. A man stood in as the Lizard during shooting and performed a lot of the interaction with the other characters. A computer-generated version then replaced the man in post-production. However, there was a problem in this part of development- the creators fused the design of the Lizard with the actor who plays Dr. Curt Connors (who mutates into the Lizard) Rhys Ifans. After this, the actor used motion capture for the Lizard's speaking parts, which Marc Webb found difficult to mix into the character's final version.
A digital touch-up was used that improved the high school battle scene and the sewer scene with many of Spider-Man's poses and environments that were used in the film.
This attention to detail in the special effects and making the film seem real, and also appealing to fans of the comic book (using Spider-Man's poses)- making it a realistic, bigger and better Spider Man film- contributed to the film's huge success.
Perhaps the most exciting part of the technological side of the film is the fact that they shot the film in 3D using 3ality technology, and it is the first ever film to adopt 3ality Digital's TS-5 wireless and handheld beamsplitter mirror rig. This technology made it possible for the film not to have to film in 2D and convert it to 3D afterwards. Marc Webb said this: "Because we're shooting in 3D, I wanted to conceive of certain things very specifically for 3D. There's an experimental component to 3D that's fascinating and we're experimenting with generating that point of view – so you feel what Peter Parker feels, you feel what Spider-Man feels when he's jumping over buildings and over the streets." This allowed the audience to connect with his character and the action even more and may have been a large factor in the film's success.
So yes, the film does have absolutely spectacular visuals and therefore corroborates with the second rule of being a successful blockbuster.
The third rule- it must NOT be a comedy- complies with this film. It is action-adventure fantasy, with elements of comedy and elements of drama (for example when Peter's uncle gets murdered and when Gwen Stacy's father gets killed towards the end of the film). Although it has elements of comedy, that is not the genre of the film and therefore it agrees with the rule and is a successful blockbuster according to it.
Now, to the fourth rule- the film must have an A-list star in it. Before The Amazing Spider-Man Andrew Garfield was best known for his roles in The Social Network (as Eduardo Saverin) and Never Let Me Go, starring alongside Keira Knightley and Carey Mulligan as the character Tommy D. He was an up and coming star before the part of Peter Parker came along, so not an A-lister and therefore not complying with the rule. However, he may have drawn audiences in as they were interested to see what he did next. I mean, who wouldn't be interested in seeing the guy that won a Hollywood Film Festival Award for Breakthrough Actor, for Never Let Me Go, in his new film? He was praised greatly by critics for his performance in both of the films I've mentioned- Rolling Stone said that in The Social Network Garfield delivered 'a vulnerability that raises the emotional stakes' in the film, and they also said 'keep your eyes on Garfield- he's shatteringly good, the soul of a film that might otherwise be without one'. This last comment in itself is enough to draw audiences in as they want to see his new work.
Emma Stone (Gwen Stacy) is also not quite an A-list star, although she was quite famous before The Amazing Spider-Man, most notably starring in the film Easy A as Olive Penderghast and starring in the film The Help. People would have wanted to see what she did next, and she is also quite popular on the internet so The Amazing Spider-Man could have drawn some audience from there as well.
The A-list stars lie in the supporting roles of this film. Peter Parker's uncle (Ben Parker) is portrayed than none other than the incredible Martin Sheen. He has starred in films such as, Apocalypse Now, Badlands, The Final Countdown and The Departed. He is considered to be one of the best actors who has never been officially nominated for an Academy Award. Although, he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor for Apocalypse Now but he asked for his nomination to be withdrawn.
Sally Field is another A-list star who has a supporting role in this film, she plays Aunt May. Field is a two-time Academy Award winner for Best Actress. She has had roles in wonderful films such as; Forrest Gump, Lincoln and Mrs. Doubtfire.
Therefore, The Amazing Spider-Man does have A-list stars in it- following the 'how to be a successful blockbuster' rules.
It is now clear that this film follows the formula for a successful blockbuster to an absolute T, but what other techniques made this film an international success? Well, this lies in the tremendous marketing of this exciting, super-hero blockbuster.
The Spider-Man logo appeared on some of the world's most iconic buildings, on January 8th 2012, for example the Kremlin, Arc de Triomphe, the Colosseum and Sydney Opera House. This makes the film known about globally and interests people into seeing it and knowing what the fuss is about, photos of these iconic buildings with the logo on also probably spread on the internet and got people not originally in the know about The Amazing Spider-Man in the know and got them talking.
So, yes, marketing played a big role in widening the film's audience, spreading the news about the film, and interesting people into going to see it. This subsequently played a huge role in the film's box office success.
The location the filming took place in also had a large effect on the film's success:
Most of the 90-day shoot was spent filming in and around Los Angeles, with 2 weeks of filming in New York City. A Sony Entertainment spokesman (Steve Elzer) said that "[T]here is a comfort level in producing a project of this size and scope on your own backlot ... Basing the film on the lot also makes it easier for producers to interact with Sony's in-house visual effects team, and gives the studios greater control of quality and security." This therefore meant that the film could be a lot better than if they shot it somewhere out of their comfort zone, and a better film means a bigger audience, and a bigger audience means a bigger box office figure and a bigger box office figure means it's a bigger success.
Overall, The Amazing Spider-Man was such a massive box office success because of it's following of the 'successful blockbuster rules' and it's excellent marketing and clever use of filming locations.
The Amazing Spider-Man is a wonderful adventure of a film and I'm sure it will be enjoyed and loved for generations to come. Because after all, who doesn't love a good superhero?