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Last Updated: Monday, 23 April 2007, 10:24 GMT 11:24 UK
Spider-Man's global footprint
By Colin Paterson
BBC News

Tobey Maguire as Spider-Man
Maguire reprises the super-hero role for the third time

The UK's summer blockbuster season starts here, and Tobey Maguire is so excited he cannot keep his eyes open.

On Monday, he will walk the red carpet at the British premiere of the most expensive film ever made - Spider-Man 3.

According to Variety magazine, it cost $258 million (129m), comfortably more than the previous record holder King Kong ($207 million), and further proof just how expensive it can be to film creatures climbing buildings in New York.

With that amount of money invested in the picture, it's no surprise that Sony Pictures has urged the film's stars to embark on a promotional tour more punishing than anything the Green Goblin would devise.

Spider-Man 3 had its worldwide premiere in Tokyo last Monday. Since then Maguire has been back to the US for press interviews and recently arrived in London on a flight from Los Angeles.

Before he's had time to check out his hotel suite, an afternoon of interviews has begun.

International push

"I'm a little tired. It's fun to be part of an event movie like this, to travel round the world, and I'm proud of the film. But this is the first time it's hit me," he says, trying to stay awake while being engulfed by a lavish couch.

"This is my second trip to London on this tour. I've been to Japan twice. I'm about to go all over Europe - Rome, Paris, Berlin and Moscow.

"But if I get a good night's sleep, I'll get back on schedule."

In all Spider-Man 3 will have nine premieres across the world.

Sony Entertainment claims films used to earn the same amount in the rest of the world in total as they did in the US alone.

Kirsten Dunst and Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man 3
Maguire stars opposite Kirsten Dunst as Mary-Jane Watson

All that has changed. The international release of The Da Vinci Code and Casino Royale took twice at the international box office what they did domestically, which explains why Spider-Man 3 opens in China ahead of the US.

The result is more afternoons like this for leading man Maguire, where he is so tired that he actually keeps his eyes shut while answering questions.

But this could be the last time Maguire has a Spider-Man film to talk about.

Sony are committed to making six films, but their webbed wonder only signed up for three and is still undecided about continuing in a role which has dominated the past seven years of his life.

"Not being contractually obligated is a good thing. I'm free and clear.

"For me, if the time comes when they are asking me to do it, I'll read a script and talk to Sam Raimi and see if he's doing it.

"If the right cast is in place I would consider it, but it would really have to be a story worth telling and cover some new ground for Peter Parker."

I encouraged them to go further into the darker side of Peter Parker
Tobey Maguire

This time around a vengeful, arrogant side emerges in Peter Parker's personality, when his spider suit mysteriously turns black.

Maguire embraced this change of character. "When I read one of the early drafts of the script, I encouraged them to go further into the darker side of Peter Parker.

"I think it's a really interesting way to go with the character, and it gives the film its own unique tone."

In one comedic scene the new super-confident Peter Parker engages in a John Travolta-inspired dance routine in a jazz club.

But Maguire insists he will not be auditioning for the newly announced Spider-Man Broadway musical, written by U2.

"I've heard about that," he laughs. "It sounds kind of interesting and cool. I don't think they would want me in it. I don't have a great singing voice. But I'll definitely go and see it."

Spider-Man 3
The blockbuster film had its world premiere in Tokyo

The fact that Broadway is developing a Spider-Man musical demonstrates the power of a popular brand, something that current cinema schedules back up.

This is the summer of the "three-quel". Spider-Man 3 is closely followed by third outings from Shrek, Pirates of the Caribbean, Rush Hour, Resident Evil, the Bourne series, as well as Ocean's Thirteen.

Environmental concerns

Maguire has mixed feelings about these summer blockbusters.

"The studios like to have these franchises which are proven success. At the same time there are lots of independent films, and some are getting recognised in ways which they weren't in the past, contending for Academy Awards, and making tons and tons of money.

It's interesting. It's definitely its own era of cinema."

And that is not his only reservation.

Maguire was one of the first Hollywood stars of his generation to talk about environmental issues and is genuinely excited about the Live Earth event this summer.

But he realises the promotional film tour is not helping: "How big is Spider-Man 3's global footprint? We'll have to assess that and maybe get Sony, myself and some other people to neutralise that."

Spider-Man may have saved New York, but saving the planet is a trickier matter.

Tobey Maguire on plans for Spider-Man the musical

U2 write for Spider-Man musical
20 Apr 07 |  Entertainment
Spider-Man 3 premieres in Tokyo
16 Apr 07 |  Entertainment
Spider-Man 3 set for NY premiere
05 Apr 07 |  Entertainment
Sequels dominate cinema calendar
02 Jan 07 |  Entertainment
Spider-Man removes mask at last
15 Jun 06 |  Entertainment


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