With “The Amazing Spider-Man” hitting Blu-ray and DVD this Friday (Nov. 9), and pre-production is already well underway on its sequel. Director Marc Webb and star Andrew Garfield are already confirmed to return for “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” when it comes out May 2, 2014, while actors like Jamie Foxx and Shailene Woodley are reportedly up for the roles of Electro and Mary Jane Watson, respectively.
With all that work already taking place, the recent press event for “The Amazing Spider-Man” home video release was the perfect opportunity to talk to Webb about his plans for the next movie. During the press conference, Webb, senior visual effects supervisor Jerome Chen, 3D visual effects supervisor Rob Engle and additional animation supervisor David Schaub talked about how they’re approaching the upcoming sequel.
Webb told the reporters in attendance that he thinks the public should encourage the kind of experimentation James Cameron and Peter Jackson are undertaking with projects like “Avatar” and “The Hobbit.” With that in mind, the director and his team are mulling over the various ways they can push the various release formats of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
One thing Webb mentioned is putting more of a focus on the movie’s IMAX release. The director is toying with the idea of releasing IMAX-exclusive content for the web-spinning sequel, citing his regret at not doing more for “The Amazing Spider-Man” after seeing how cool those scenes looked.
“I remember watching the abbreviated version [of the POV shot] in IMAX when I went to test the IMAX version, and I was like, ‘Shit, I should have held on it,” he said, explaining that he had already cut that scene down from 40 seconds to 12. “There was a real feeling in the IMAX environment that was really great. I learned a lesson then to be reverent of the IMAX experience. Maybe we’ll do cuts that are specific for the IMAX in the future, I don’t know, but there was something about that environment specifically that is unique and really exciting.”
After the success of “The Amazing Spider-Man’s” 3D format, it should go without saying Sony Pictures plans to have the follow-up be projected in three dimensions as well. Unlike his next approach to IMAX, Webb’s mindset on 3D technology will remain the same as he shoots “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”
“I tend to think more about depth than stuff coming out at you. Avi Arad, my partner, is always like, ‘Have it come out at you!’ … so there’s different philosophies, even within our camp. But I don’t want people to be thinking about the 3D. I want it to enhance the sensation of feeling, and if it becomes too in your face — literally — it pulls you out of the story and becomes a gimmick,” he said. “We were very, very careful not too push it too far.”
Speaking of 3D, Engle told the press that he and his 3D visual effects team are constantly thinking about how that format will transfer from the big screen to the home video release while they’re shooting a movie. A 3D Blu-ray version of “The Amazing Spider-Man” is being released which will allow viewers to watch the same 3D at home that they saw in theaters, something Engle said he had in mind when he was working on the movie.
“Specifically trying to transfer the film to work on the smaller screen versus the bigger screen, we certainly are thinking about that as we’re filming the movie in the first place,” he said. “One of the things that was great about this film and I think contributed to the sense of realism of the film was that we captured so much of the project using real stereo cameras. And as we were dialing the cameras, as we were setting things up, we knew that it was going to be seen on the small screen.”
The Blu-ray is filled with special features, but the one Webb is most excited about is the Second Screen App. Available for the Sony Tablet S, Sony Xperia Tablet S and Apple iPad, the app syncs with the Blu-ray as someone is watching the movie, offering up behind-the-scene details while the film is playing. Not unlike an enhanced commentary track, with new content being added every week, the app encourages fans to watch the movie again and again for new behind-the-scenes photos, storyboards, stunt rehearsals, trivia and more.
“That’s something we worked on for a while,” Webb said. “It’s just an interesting way to watch a movie. It’s like texting while driving — the safe version of it. We’re all addicted to having multiple devices on at one time — it sort of satisfies your completely screwed up brain, so I liked that. That was fun.”
Even though Webb didn’t focus on the home release’s special features while filming “The Amazing Spider-Man,” Webb did say there were times when he was working on the movie that he knew something would end up being a part of the Blu-ray/DVD viewing experience.
“There is certain moments when you’re like, you know what? This sequence, I really like it, but it’s taking too long or it feels redundant, so put it in the deleted scenes,” he said. “There is a feeling that it’s not completely useless. You put all this work into a sequence, and you’re like, people will still see it, but not in the context of the film. So, there is some comfort there, but it is a secondary consideration.”
“The Amazing Spider-Man” comes out on Blu-ray and DVD on Nov. 9.