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Film Portal: Spider-Man (2002) Pt. 2

Sunday, April 10th, 2011


Film Portal is where through calculated time travel we look back at a particular film’s journey from page to screen and the effects its had on pre-historic societies. Today we continue with Spider-Man from 2002. Read Part 1 here.

When Spider-Man was finally released on May 3rd 2002 it was a cultural phenomenon on par with two other superhero films before it, Superman and Batman. Box office records were set (it took in a total of $821,708,551) and the awards poured in. It won ‘best kiss’ at the MTV Movie Awards, was nominated for everything from the Academy Awards to the Saturn Awards and took home the ‘Favorite Motion Picture Award’ at the People’s Choice Awards. While X-Men and Blade opened the door for comic book movies to be relevant again, Spider-man was the one that smashed the door and windows wide open when it proved just how profitable comic book movies could be. After 9/11 a movie like Spider-man was what the American people needed. Something uplifting and a character that we all could aspire to, and a hero we could get behind. It was actually a good thing for Marvel that the movie rights were tangled up for as long as they were, because Spider-man swung by when we needed him the most.

First Spidey poster with the Twin Towers reflection

The movie marketing engine, always a huge factor in the success of a film, especially when it comes to summer tentpoles, was in high gear for Spider-Man. Leading up to the release date of May 3rd 2002 Spidey was everywhere. Sony hit all the marketing touch points. First we’ll cover television. Sony made sure that that Spider-man got its own TV specials. Both “The Making of Spider-man” on HBO and “Spider-mania” on E! aired before the movie hit theaters (both can be seen on the special edition DVD, check them out!).

Another thing that didn’t hurt was the song “Hero” by Nickelback front man Chad Kroeger and Saliva singer Josey Scott that appeared on the soundtrack, back when people still bought soundtracks. The music video featured scenes from the movie and was on heavy rotation on MTV. The song proved to be a massive hit charting number one on both the modern rock and mainstream rock charts, ultimately charting up to number three on the Billboard hot 100. It even went 4x Platinum in the United States.

Spider-man also made a significant appearance on the newsstands. He appeared on the cover Wizard of course, but he was also featured in several mainstream magazines such as Time and TV Guide. He also appeared on the cover of some gaming magazines thanks to the movie game tie in.

Remember when Wizard was the same size as a comic?

Spidey even made his way into the grocery store. Sony made a deal with Kellogg’s for a limited edition Pop Tarts box and cereal with the obligatory Spider-man toys packed into other Kellogg’s products. A deal was also made with Dr. Pepper (the soda brand would continue its association with Marvel films).

He's a Pepper

The breakfast of champions

Spider-man was truly everywhere in the summer of 2002. A franchise was born, and the feature film soon became the jewel in Sony and Marvel’s crown. I myself remember all these things fondly. I mean who wouldn’t want to start their every morning with a bowl of Spider-man berry flavored awesomeness?