UPDATE: See the press release from Sony after the jump
This post from Deadline.com has turned out out to be true, as Sony has confirmed via their Twitter feed. Sam Raimi has ankled Spider-Man 4, and they're killing the sequel instead of hiring a new director. And even though Spider-Man 3 brought in nearly a billion dollars in total worldwide revenue, they're going to reboot the series instead of sticking with the same cast. Sounds dramatic, right?
Apparently Raimi felt he couldn't realistically meet Sony's 2011 release date, so he's left the project. Sony co-chairman Amy Pascal and Columbia Pictures president Matt Tolmach then decided to jettison everything and start from scratch. Obviously this will save them the bloated salaries of the Tobey Maguire et al., but is it going to kill interest in the series? For an entire generation, Tobey Maguire is Spider-Man.
Personally, I didn't enjoy Spider-Man 3 as much as the previous two films, and I imagine that Raimi has grown tired of the project on a personal level as well, so I welcome any sort of change in this franchise. The fourth film already felt like it was overburdened with villains (including John Malkovich as The Vulture) and story, so a reboot could be good. Or it could scuttle everything Raimi did.
Could we just wait on it for awhile? Sony and Columbia we know your coffers are insatiably hungry, but please don't rush a script into production for 2011. Take your time with this one, and give us back our teenaged, loveable, pun and web-slinging Spidey. Alas, right now the tentative plan is to "reboot" the series, from scratch, in 2012.