A little over a year ago, we debuted an article here on SuperHeroHype titled 9 Superhero Movies That Almost Happened, and since then the piece has gone on to become one of our most popular features. Even since before I finished working on the first one, I knew there were plenty of other abandoned super projects that it would be possible to keep the trend going should everyone be interested in reading about them, and apparently you are. With that, here’s another collection of superhero movies that almost made it to the big screen, except this one goes to eleven.
#1 CANNON FILMS’ SPIDER-MAN
In the 1980s, the film rights to Marvel characters were traded around more often than Pokemon cards on a elementary school playground. After a brief stint with B-movie legend Roger Corman (more on that in a future article), the rights to Spider-Man found themselves in the hands of Cannon Films for the mere price of $225,000. Run by cousins Menahem Golan and Yoram Globus, Cannon is probably most well known for producing such dazzling pictures as Lifeforce, American Ninja, and the father of countless memes, Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo.
For some reason, when the pair bought the rights to Spider-Man, they weren’t even sure who Spider-Man was, and as a result a superhero free version of the character was envisioned more in line with the Universal monsters.
“Golan and Globus didn’t really know what Spider-Man was,” Joseph Zito, the second director brought onto the project, told the LA Times back in 2002. “They thought it was like the Wolfman.”
The script was written by “The Outer Limits” creator Leslie Stevens and saw Peter Parker turn into an eight-armed tarantula monster who did battle against a barrage of other mutants being kept in a government laboratory. With that kind of crazy story as the basis for your Spider-Man film, you need someone to step behind the camera to enhance the wackiness and that’s why Cannon Films hired The Texas Chainsaw Massacre director Tobe Hooper.
As you can imagine, this script did not make Spider-Man creator Stan Lee very happy, who convinced them to have a new script written by Ted Newsom and John Brancato which featured your more traditional Peter Parker going up against Doctor Octopus. Hooper soon left the project and was replaced by Zito, who wanted to cast Bob Hoskins in the role of Doc Ock while Golan and Globus had their eyes set on Tom Cruise as Spider-Man. All told, Bloomberg Business Week reported in 2002 that the group spent over $10 million in developing scripts for the film, an unheard of amount at the time. Though fans can be thankful this bastardization was never actually made, it did begin the legal woes surrounding the character that would follow him for decades.
Head over to Page 2 to read about what unlikely hero the creators of The Matrix almost made… twice!