<i>Spider-Man 4</i> delayed by villain dispute

A clash over the villain for Spider-Man 4 has prompted Sony Pictures to delay the start of production and could bump the film from its announced May 11, 2011, release.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, director Sam Raimi wants the classic Spider-Man foe the Vulture as the lead antagonist while the studio is set on another villain -- anyone other than ol' Adrian Toomes, apparently -- plus a romantic subplot involving the Black Cat.

Just three week ago Sony denied a report by IESB that production had been placed on "indefinite hold" because of the dispute over the villain.

If this sounds familiar, it's probably because Raimi had pushed for the Vulture to appear alongside Sandman in Spider-Man 3 before being convinced by Producer Avi Arad to use Venom instead.

Production of Spider-Man 4 originally was set for spring 2010, and still could begin by summer. According to the trade paper, Alvin Sargent (Spider-Man 2, Spider-Man 3) is the latest a succession of screenwriters to attempt a script that will wed the conflicting visions of Raimi and Sony executives.

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