Using his powerful webs, Spider-Man has managed to spin one of the greatest comic book careers of all-time. Stan Lee and Steve Ditko created Spider-Man, more than 60 years ago in 1962. The quintessential Marvel character is one of most popular superheroes of all time, but did you know that Spider-Man nearly did not make it to comic books? After creating Spider-Man, Stan Lee wanted to put him out in the real-world but Martin Goodman, a popular American publisher, believed that the character had no future. Thankfully, it was published in one failing comic book series and the rest is history. Here, we are listing some fascinating facts about the superhero that you probably didn’t know.
1. It took more than 17 years to bring Spider-Man into the movies.
Today, there are six movies based on the character and a 7th one due this year. Before finding popularity, the journey to get onto the big screen was extremely difficult for the superhero. In 1985, there was not much interest in superhero movies with the only exception being Superman. So, Marvel gave the rights to Spider-Man to Cannon Films, who acquired it for a mere $250,000. After many attempts to build a script, Cannon gave the rights to its successor company, 21st Century Films. By 1991, 21st Century Films was also done with the character and Carolco Pictures obtained the rights until 1995, when they went bankrupt.
Then, MGM claimed the rights to make a movie but Marvel filed a suit against them to retrieve the rights since the original contract they had provided Cannon Films had expired in 1996. Finally in 1999, a court decided that MGM had no rights and gave it back to Marvel, who struck a new deal with Sony Pictures and released Spider-Man in 2002. (source)
2. Stan Lee was inspired to create Spider-Man after observing a fly crawling on a wall.
After the success of the Fantastic Four in 1961, Stan Lee was looking to discover the next big thing. One day, while sitting in his office and trying to come up with a character, Lee observed a fly that was crawling up the wall. After seeing the little insect, he thought of a character that could climb up walls. Initially, he thought of names such as Fly-Man, Insect-Man and so on. Stan Lee in fact created a list that was filled with names for his newfound superhero. From the list, Spider-Man stood out and sounded dramatic to him. So, Lee chose the name and enlisted artist Steve Ditko to whip up the costume design. Once Spider-Man was created, the character was introduced to Marvel head Martin Goodman, who replied, “That’s the worst idea I’ve ever heard”. Lee also made Spider-Man to be empathetic so that a lot of people can relate themselves with the superhero. (source)
3. Spider-Man almost didn’t make it to the real world.
After creating Spider-Man, Stan Lee introduced the character to Marvel head Martin Goodman. Goodman was a famous American publisher who believed that the character had no future, since readers would find the subject of spiders distasteful. “Martin Goodman didn’t want to publish it,” recalls Stan Lee. Thankfully, Amazing Fantasy, a comic book series, was faltering sales and readership was steadily declining. The comic book was about to be cancelled, so Stan Lee threw in Spider-Man as an experiment. “Nobody cares what you put in a book that’s going to perish,” Lee said, “so I threw in Spider-Man. I featured him on the cover and then forgot about him”. Thankfully, that was one of the best decisions he made, since readers loved Spidey and his superpowers. (source)
4. Tobey Maguire was not the first choice to play Peter Parker. Some of the actors who were considered to play the role before Tobey were Tom Cruise, Charlie Sheen, Leonardo DiCaprio, James Franco and many others.
Whenever we think of Spider-Man or Peter Parker, Tobey Maguire is the one that comes to our minds. Although he landed the role, he was not the directors first choice. In fact, more than 12 actors were considered before Tobey was selected. In the late 80’s, Cannon Pictures attempted to make a version of Spider-Man with Tom Cruise as Peter Parker, Bob Hoskins as Doctor Octopus and Lauren Bacall as Aunt May. According to Charlie Sheen, he tried to buy the rights to Spider-Man with himself in the title role. In a podcast, he recalls the moment:
“I had an office at Orion at the time, and I brought them Spider-Man. I said, ‘Look, in a couple of years, I’ll be too old to play Peter Parker.’ And they said, ‘Yeah, we’re just thinking that cartoons are not the future, comic books are not the future.’ And I said, ‘But it’s Spider-Man, I’m perfect.’ And they were like, ‘Nah, we’re gonna wait'”.
Other actors who were considered for Spider-Man include, Edward Furlong, Jude Law, Freddie Prinze, Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Josh Hutcherson and a few others. (source)
5. Michael Jackson once tried to buy Marvel so he could star as Spider-Man.
The King of Pop was a huge fan of Spider-Man and had always wanted to play the role in the movies. In fact, he was so eager that he tried to buy Marvel, just to make it happen. According to Marvel legend Stan Lee, who spoke at the 2009 Comic-Con in San Diego, “Michael thought I’d be the one who could get him the rights [to make a Spider-Man movie], and I told him I couldn’t. He would have to go to the Marvel company”. Today, Marvel is a multi-million dollar company but back in the 90’s, it was struggling to stay afloat. Jackson knew this and was genuinely interested in buying the comic book company. Even if he managed to buy Marvel, he wouldn’t have been able to star as Peter Parker since Jackson himself would have had to be director to choose the role. Stan Lee told Moviefone: “I think he’d have been good. I think he’d have been very good. But I must say that Tobey Maguire was wonderful. I can’t imagine. It would have been totally different of course, but maybe not as successful. Michael was not a great businessman”. (source)
6. James Cameron was close to making his own version of Spider-Man.
During the 1990’s, when Carolco secured the rights to Spider-Man, they wanted James Cameron to handle the project. Cameron has always been a huge fan of Spider-Man and immediately started working to create a script. Within a few months, he had managed to create a 57-page “scriptment”, that had details of his own version of the character. Cameron’s scriptment had a villain named Electro and when Stan Lee read it, he thought it would make a great movie. After handing over his version of the character, Cameron went on to direct True Lies, and had been looking forward to directing Spider-Man. Sadly, Carolco went into bankruptcy, which halted the plans and Cameron went on to direct Titanic. (source)
7. Spider-Man grew up at 20 Ingram Street in Forest Hills, Queens. The address exists in real life, and the family that lives there are the Parker’s.
Most of the blockbuster movie, Spider-Man, was filmed on location in Queens. As it happens, the Spider-Man comic and movie transcends in real-life , since the family that lives at 20 Ingram Street in Forest Hills, Queens, NY are the Parker’s. According to the NY Times, the address exists in real-life and the Parker family consists of Andrew and Suzanne Parker, who moved there in 1974 and had two daughters. (source)
8. Sony once had the chance to buy almost every Marvel character for $25 million but turned it down. Instead, they bought the rights to Spider-Man for $10 million.
According to The Wall Street Journal, almost 20 years ago, Marvel was struggling and it was willing to give away rights to major characters to survive bankruptcy. So, when Sony approached the company to buy Spider-Man in 1998, Marvel offered rights to major characters such as Iron Man, Thor, and the Black Panther for a price of $25 million.Sony however, claimed that no one cared about any characters other than Spider-Man, so they bought the rights to just the one character for $10 million. Today, Marvel movies make billions annually and Sony would have had a large share if they had taken the deal in 1998. (source)
9. Spider-Man (2002) was the first film to gross $100 million on its opening weekend.
The first Spider-Man movie that was released in 2002, featuring Tobey Maguire in the title role, was the fastest movie ever to earn more than $100 million at the box office on its opening weekend. The movie was released on Friday, May 3, 2002 and by Sunday, May 5th, it raked in $114.8 million. Both Spider-Man sequels, in 2004 and 2007, broke their predecessor’s opening day record by earning $40.4 million and $59 million, respectively. (source)
10. The scene in Spider-Man where Peter catches Mary Jane’s tray in the cafeteria was not created with CGI. It took him 156 takes to get it just right.
The cafeteria scene where Peter’s Spidey-sense kicking in is truly a remarkable one. When Mary Jane walks past him, slips, and has her lunch tray; along with the sandwich, apple, carton of juice, and dessert fly away, Peter Parker catches her, as well as her lunch. While the scene appears as if some form of CGI trickery was used, it was in fact performed by Tobey Maguire himself. According to The Independent, it only took him 156 takes and 16 hours of the cameras rolling. (source)