The reason 2002's Spider-Man exists at all is actually because of James Bond 4 months ago

The reason 2002's Spider-Man exists at all is actually because of James Bond

The web-slinging blockbuster arrived in cinemas 20 years ago this week.

Before Daniel Craig fronted the down'n'dirty version in 2006, did you know there was already another adaptation of the James Bond story Casino Royale?

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Released in 1967, it was actually a parody of the Bond movies, it featured no less than FIVE different directors - as well as Woody Allen as the movie's villain - and it was, by all accounts, a total fucking mess.

The rights to Ian Fleming's novel were initially sold in 1955, and passed through a series of hands before landing on the lap of talent agent Charles Feldman. Albert Broccoli (who would later go on to own the rights to pretty much all of Fleming's stories) offered to buy them off him, but Feldman decided to try to make a movie out of the book himself.

Following the sizeable hit of 1962's Dr. No, Feldman approached Sean Connery about the project, but rejected Connery's request of $1 million for the role. Eventually, Feldman offered the project to Columbia Pictures (or Sony Pictures as they're known today), and the finished product arrived in cinemas two months ahead of Broccoli's fifth Bond movie, You Only Live Twice.

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Jump forward a little over three decades later, and production company MGM now own the rights to pretty much all of the Bond movies. At the same time, comic book movies are all the rage in Hollywood, thanks to 1995's Batman Forever, 1998's Blade and 2000's X-Men.

In an extremely unique scenario, MGM and Sony take stock of who owns the rights to what, and actually set about a straight up swap: Sony will hand over the rights to Casino Royale in exchange for MGM's rights to Spider-Man.

The deal was finalised in March 1999, with Sony immediately heading into pre-production on the Spider-Man movie, with an initial script by original directing choice James Cameron (who was going to cast Leonardo Di Caprio in the title role), and his script idea being the jump off point for eventual screenwriter David Koepp (Jurassic Park, Mission: Impossible).

For the director, Sony cast a very wide net: Roland Emmerich, Tony Scott, Chris Columbus, Barry Sonnenfeld, Michael Bay, Ang Lee, David Fincher, Jan de Bont and M. Night Shyamalan were all in the running.

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They eventually landed on Sam Raimi, who then began searching for his Peter Parker, using an even bigger net, resulting in the most 90's list of actors imaginable: Freddie Prinze Jr., Scott Speedman, Chris O'Donnell, Jude Law, Chris Klein, Wes Bentley and Heath Ledger.

Nicolas Cage, Jason Isaacs, John Malkovich and Jim Carrey all reportedly turned down the role of Norman Osborne, while Kate Hudson turned down the role of Mary Jane Watson.

Of course, things all worked out in the end, for parties on both sides of the arrangement in MGM and Sony.

2006's Casino Royale banked an impressive $616 million worldwide and did help to revitalise the 007 franchise after the damp squib that was Die Another Day.

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On the other hand, 2002's Spider-Man made $825 million, with the original trilogy making $2.5 billion. Or if you want to include all of the Spider-Man movies that have arrived since 2002, then we're talking $7.8 billion, not even including the money made from Venom or Into The Spider-Verse or, uhm, Morbius.

At the time of writing, Spider-Man is available to watch on Netflix, while Casino Royale (both versions) are available to watch on Prime Video.

Clips via MovieClips