Spoofs & Satire

Credit: Sam Howzit

With Great Power

There’s a new Spider-Man movie in the works, but it’s not the one you’re expecting. Thanks to the magic of crowd-funding, it could be the summer blockbuster nobody sees.

With great power there must also come—great responsibility!
Voltaire, 1832; Amazing Fantasy No. 15, 1962; Ben Parker/Peter Parker, 2002

As a film exec, I’m all over this Kickstarter. When my assistant showed me the Veronica Mars campaign, it hit me. What a way for you, the fan, to take ownership of the stories and characters you love. Here at Columbia Pictures, we feel crowdsourcing isn’t just for indie docs, canceled TV shows, or Zach Braff vehicles. We want you to contribute to our most treasured franchise. We want you to donate to Spider-Man.

Updated: June 21, 2013
Backers: 2,523
Pledged: $312,920 of $50,000,000
Days to Go: 5
Project by: Colombia Pictures

Last month I was at a Cinco de Mayo party, and my brother-in-law Ted, an insurance man in Fresno, says he’s got a hell of an idea for a movie. Ted’s not exactly James Cameron, but I’m five Coronas in, so I let him pitch me as I had at the piñata. There I am, hacking open the chest cavity of a rainbow donkey, as Ted unwinds this story about his old college roommate’s nephew’s guitar teacher. We gave the rough story beats to a bed-headed kid always at the same table at the same Starbucks typing on a laptop running Windows 97. He thought he could fuse it with a revenge-themed Twilight fanfic he’d written after getting stood up at homecoming. We gave him a Starbucks gift card and a two-week deadline.

Why am I telling you this? The result is a 118-page screenplay sitting on my desk right now, The Amazing Spider-Man 2: ’Stache Cash Fast. It’s a quirky coming-of-age story about Peter Parker competing in a mustache-growing contest. Directors are circling, and we hope to start shooting soon.

Now, when you read that, you probably felt queasy, like someone was defiling a loved one. Also, confused. Why would I donate to that? That movie sounds horrible. Well, that’s why we want you involved. See, if we don’t get a certain amount of money in the next five days, we’re greenlighting this tire fire.

But that doesn’t need to happen.

  • If we get $5 million in donations, we’ll cut the meandering subplot about Mary Jane’s hair extensions.
  • For $10 million, we’ll go back to the original Spider-Man suit and ditch the one designed by Baz Luhrmann’s wife.
  • $20 million, and we’ll set the showdown somewhere other than Supercuts.
  • And if we’re so blessed to get $40 million by 8 p.m. PT next Friday, this movie disappears from our slate faster than a Jonah Hex sequel.

People’ll say, why should you, a fanboy, donate your hard-earned money to a multi-billion-dollar media conglomerate? Old paradigm, man. This isn’t you paying $12 to see a movie. You’re paying for the privilege to live in a universe where The Amazing Spider-Man: ’Stache Cash Fast doesn’t exist. You’re paying for a world where you can walk down the street and not be ambushed by a billboard of Justin Bieber in red-and-blue spandex. You’re paying so that a Spider-Man film doesn’t exist in which a major plot point is a secret, midnight shaving of Harry Osborn’s handlebar mustache.

And that’s not all you get.

  • Pledge $100 or more: You receive the gratitude of fans everywhere and a limited edition “Not on My Watch” T-shirt.
  • Pledge $500 or more: You get to pour honey on the hard drive of one of the computers rendering the pre-vis for the characters’ CGI facial hair.
  • Pledge $100,000 or more: We’ll fly you to Los Angeles and let you fire one of the principle above-the-line talents.
  • Pledge $500,000 or more: You get to cohost the Columbia Pictures-sponsored Comic-Con panel “The True Nature of Spider-Man.” Also, you get to key my Mercedes.

Don’t think this is real?

“We were deep into pre-production and they changed the locks on the office. All I’ve been told is they might go another direction.”
—Marc Webb, director of The Amazing Spider-Man

“I got a call, and they said I wasn’t doing the next movie anymore. At first I thought it was a joke. Then I read on Deadline that they’re talking to Amanda Bynes.”
—Emma Stone

“My agent got me a copy of the new script. Usually I don’t like to critique other artists, but you know that feeling you get when you see a sick dog, after surgery, staring up at you with those big bloodshot eyes, unable to understand why he’s been cut open, forced to endure this pain, and all he can do is beg, Please make it stop. Dear God, kill me if you have to but make it stop. I only got to page 70, but that’s what it felt like.”
—Sam Raimi, director of the Spider-Man trilogy

I’ve got your childhood hero by the shiny blue nutsack, and if I don’t get my money, I’m going to take a steaming dump on the universe and characters so dear to your heart. Think I’m bluffing? I’ll create a sidekick so bad it makes Jar Jar Binks look like Tony Stark. Plot developments irreconcilable with the Spider-Man you know. Motion capture. Training montages set to ABBA. CGI that looks like it was done by a golden retriever with Cinema 4D. An experience so horrid it sears into your brain like George Clooney’s Batman, nipples and all. I’ll fuck up this franchise so bad a team of Joss Whedons couldn’t save it.

Hey, on second thought, don’t worry about it. Maybe it’ll be cool if Uncle Ben came back to life and was revealed as Bella’s secret uncle. Who knows? Maybe Spider-Man shouldn’t do the spiderweb thing. Maybe it would be more awesome if he could fly. With a jet-pack. Yeah. Lots of jet packs. And a cape. Definitely a cape. Sure, he hasn’t had one, like, ever, in the history of this storied American character, but I think a change might be refreshing. It’s just a movie, right? How bad can it be?