'The Amazing Spider-Man' Director Marc Webb Won't Direct 4th Film: 7 Other Franchises That Survived a Director Swap
Spider-Man 4 is a thing, but it has to find a new director. Marc Webb is only signed on to direct through The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and has announced his decision to step down after that. "I want to help and contribute, but I think three movies…honestly, that’s it for me,” he told Entertainment Weekly. He has discussed possibly sticking around as a consultant for the 4th film, but that his directorial duties will conclude when the third installment comes out in 2016. The 4th film won't be released until 2018, so the Marvel team has plenty of time to find a new director, but how will the change in leadership affect the film?
Directors leaving midway through a long series isn't unprecedented. Often they don't want to make that big of a commitment and leadership will change midway through a lengthy series. Let's take a look at other franchises who have done the same and see how their movies faired after the staff switch-up.
1. HARRY POTTER
Harry Potter changed directors not once, but three times. Chris Columbus took the reigns of the first two movies, sticking incredibly close to the book. Then Academy Award winning director Alfonso Cuaron took the position for the third movie (this was before he won the award though.) He deviated a little more from the book, which had fans feeling disoriented after being babied by Columbus for two films. But any complaints over Cuaron vanished when Mike Newell took over for the 4th film and completely butchered everything ever. The film started like halfway through the book and suddenly the maze at the end could come to life and drag the students into its leafy green depths.
Needless to say that when David Yates stepped up to complete the final four films, fans were just glad to have some consistency (even if he did have Voldemort explode into a bunch of paper flakes.)
End Result: A bit of a bumpy road, but the directorial switch didn't turn out too bad. Though Columbus spoiled us a bit in the beginning, Yates did a good job taking massively large books and condensing them into watchable films.
2. HUNGER GAMES
Gary Ross headed the first film in this YA series but allowed Francis Lawrence (no relation to star Jennifer Lawrence) to take over for the Catching Fire sequel. Lawrence will head both parts of the Mockingjay sequel.
End Result: I saw Hunger Games and was like "meh," but I saw Catching Fire and it drove me to devour the books within the same weekend. Conclusion: Francis Lawrence wins, and this director switch was an A+ idea. Sorry Gary Ross.
The directors of this series had an uphill battle transforming this oft-error filled text into a movie series that people could sit through, all while their cast basically hated everything about the film they were acting in. No director stuck around for long as the series bounced from Catherine Hardwicke to Chris Weitz to David Slade. Finally Bill Condon came on board for the final two films, but that basically doesn't count since they were both about the same book.
End Result: We don't really blame the directors for bailing, there's not much the series could have done with either consistency or new faces when the material isn't that good to begin with.
4. PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN
The first three films of the franchise were headed by Gore Verbinski. But he stepped down before the fourth film, which was instead directed by Rob Marshall. The fact that this film got not one but three sequels was a surprise to everyone, but fans continued to go if only for Johnny Depp.
End Result: Verbinski's own quality wavered between movies. One was great, two was mediocre, and three was saved by cameos from people like Keith Richards. By the time four rolled around it was as decent as you can expect any fourth film to be. Perhaps it was even better than the second film, (which really sucked, okay?) So the directorial switch in this franchise didn't do much harm.
The first film of this franchise was directed by Shakespearian actor Kenneth Branagh, so how can you beat that? But Branagh bowed out of the second film, Thor: The Dark World, and Alan Taylor took over the reigns. Though Branagh obviously brings a certain classic air to his films, Taylor did a decent job and fans were overall pleased.
End Result: This change-up was a-ok. Also we'll see anything with Tom Hiddleston in it, so that helps.
6. THE SANTA CLAUSE
The first film in this series was totally trying to be taken seriously. John Pasquin directed the movie which had equal parts sadness and joy to make it the perfect holiday family film. But when it became a hit and scored two sequels Pasquin jumped ship which was probably in his best interest. Films two and three, directed by Michael Lembeck, featured plastic Santas, a juvenile delinquent whose graffiti of choice is Christmas trees, and a Liberace-esque Jack Frost. Lembeck let us down but so did Tim Allen who inexplicably went along with all this.
End Result: This director switch was bad, bad news. Whoever made that call should get coal in their stocking.
7. NOT INDIANA JONES
I was totally ready to shit all over the director of the 4th film and excuse Steven Spielberg because I thought there was no way the same person who brought us those first three magical films could have directed the disaster that was Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. But Spielberg directed all four films, so that terrible installment is all his bad. (Shakes head.) Here's hoping he doesn't direct the 5th one.
End Result: Even if the same director sticks with the franchise doesn't mean it'll be good. So far Marc Webb's done a good job with Spider-Man but that doesn't mean the next director won't be awesome too. We'll just have to wait until 2018 to find out.