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Sony announces animated Spider-Man feature film from The Lego Movie creators

Susana Polo is an entertainment editor at Polygon, specializing in pop culture and genre fare, with a primary expertise in comic books. Previously, she founded The Mary Sue.

Not content to rest on its laurels after inking a deal with Marvel Entertainment to re-reboot the Spider-Man franchise, Sony has announced the character's first animated feature film.

The as-yet unnamed project will be headed up by Hollywood's hottest licensed property adapting team: writer/producers Chris Miller and Phil Lord of The Lego Movie. Miller and Lord will produce and write a treatment for the film, likely meaning that they'll get story credit but that someone else will be brought in to complete the screenplay proper. The movie's release date is July 20, 2018, and it will not be set within the continuity of the Marvel Cinematic universe. Given how early Sony has established that, and the medium of the film, it seems likely that it'll feature a directly kid-oriented version of the character.

Given the popularity of superheroes in animated television aimed at children, it's odd that so few of them have made the jump to the same medium and focus in feature film. The IncrediblesBig Hero 6 and Megamind make a paltry list against a long history of TV animated series, even when including outliers like Mask of the Phantasm, which was based on a TV series and very nearly sent to broadcast rather than theaters, and The Lego Movie itself. (Among other things, The Lego Movie was the first official feature film appearance of Wonder Woman ever.)

Variety notes that, according to emails from the Sony breach, this agreement between the company and Miller and Lord appears to come after attempts to recruit them to entirely take over the management of Sony's animated film division. While Sony was interested in creating a "a Pixar-style 'brain trust'" to create animated features, but it seems that Miller and Lord were less enchanted by the idea.

Their take on Spider-Man will likely bring some of the levity of the character back into the general tone of his cinematic versions, maybe enough to cut through the audience fatigue of what is now four different Spider-Man franchises since 2002.