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Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse

Nowadays, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a topic that has captured the attention of people of all ages and from different parts of the world. From its origins to its impact on modern society, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has been the subject of study, debate and reflection. Its relevance and significance make it a topic of universal interest, since its influence extends to different areas, including culture, politics, science and technology. In this article, we will explore different aspects related to Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, from its history to its impact today, with the aim of providing a comprehensive and enriching vision of this fascinating topic.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse
Behind Miles Morales (Spider-Man) and Gwen Stacy (Spider-Woman), various other Spider-People from the Spider-Society exit out of a portal into New York City, with an image of Miguel O'Hara (Spider-Man 2099) in the background.
Theatrical release poster
Directed by
Written by
Based onMarvel Comics
Produced by
Starring
Edited byMichael Andrews
Music byDaniel Pemberton
Production
companies
Distributed bySony Pictures Releasing
Release dates
Running time
140 minutes
CountryUnited States
LanguageEnglish
Budget$100–150 million
Box office$690.9 million

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse is a 2023 American animated superhero film featuring the Marvel Comics character Miles Morales / Spider-Man, produced by Columbia Pictures and Sony Pictures Animation in association with Marvel Entertainment, and distributed by Sony Pictures Releasing. It is the sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) and the second film in the Spider-Verse franchise, which is set in a shared multiverse of alternate universes called the "Spider-Verse". The film is directed by Joaquim Dos Santos, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson and written by Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, who both also produce, and David Callaham. Shameik Moore voices Miles, starring alongside Hailee Steinfeld, Brian Tyree Henry, Lauren Vélez, Jake Johnson, Jason Schwartzman, Issa Rae, Karan Soni, Shea Whigham, Greta Lee, Daniel Kaluuya, Mahershala Ali, and Oscar Isaac. In the film, Miles goes on an adventure with Gwen Stacy / Spider-Woman (Steinfeld) across the multiverse, where he meets a team of Spider-People led by Miguel O'Hara / Spider-Man 2099 (Isaac) known as the Spider-Society, but comes into conflict with them over handling a new threat in the form of the Spot (Schwartzman).

Sony began developing a sequel to Into the Spider-Verse prior to its 2018 release, with the writing and directing team attached. It was set to focus on the relationship between Moore's Miles and Steinfeld's Gwen. The sequel was officially announced in November 2019 and animation work began in June 2020, with a different visual style for each of the six universes visited by the characters. It was the first film from Sony Pictures Animation to be released in theaters worldwide since The Angry Birds Movie 2 in August 2019.

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse premiered at the Regency Village Theatre in Los Angeles, California on May 30, 2023, and was theatrically released in the United States on June 2, having been delayed from its original April 2022 theatrical release date due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Like its predecessor, the film was a critical and commercial success. It set several box office records, grossing over $690 million at the worldwide box office, surpassing its predecessor and becoming the third-highest-grossing film of the year domestically in the United States and the sixth-highest-grossing film of 2023. The American Film Institute named Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse one of the top-ten films of 2023. Among its numerous accolades, it won Best Animated Feature at the Critics' Choice Movie Awards, Annie Awards, and Producers Guild of America Awards, and received nominations for the same category at the Golden Globe Awards, BAFTA Awards, and Academy Awards.

The third and final installment in the trilogy, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, and a spin-off film, Spider-Woman, are both in development.

Plot

On Earth-65, police captain George Stacy is unaware that his daughter Gwen Stacy is Spider-Woman, whom the police are hunting for killing Peter Parker, whom Gwen had accidentally killed after he turned into the Lizard. One night, Gwen encounters a version of the Vulture from an Italian Renaissance–themed alternate universe. Miguel O'Hara and Jess Drew arrive using portal-generating watches and help Gwen neutralize the Vulture. George corners Gwen, who then reveals her identity to him; distraught, he attempts to arrest her. Miguel reluctantly grants Gwen membership into the Spider-Society, allowing her to escape with him and Jess.

In Brooklyn on Earth-1610, sixteen months after Kingpin's defeat and the destruction of the Alchemax collider, Miles Morales encounters the Spot, an Alchemax scientist-turned-criminal whose body was infused with portals during the explosion. The Spot blames Miles for causing his mutation and reveals that, while testing the collider, he had transported a spider from another dimension, Earth-42, which then bit Miles and turned him into Spider-Man. The Spot then accidentally transports himself into a void, where he learns to travel to other universes, find Alchemax colliders and empower himself further.

Gwen travels to Earth-1610 and reconnects with Miles while tracking the Spot, having traveled to Earth-50101, one of the universes with an active Alchemax collider. Miles secretly follows her through the portal to Mumbattan, and they team up with that world's local Spider-Man Pavitr Prabhakar, and later Hobie Brown, against the Spot, who absorbs the power of that world's collider. The Spot and Miles share a vision of the Spot's future attacks, which include the deaths of Police Inspector Singh, the father of Pavitr's girlfriend Gayatri, and Miles' father Jeff. The Spot departs, and the collider collapses; Miles saves Singh from the ensuing destruction, but Earth-50101 begins to fall apart from its disrupted "canon event" before members of the Society arrive to contain the damage. Miles, Gwen, and Hobie are sent to the Society's headquarters on Nueva York in Earth-928, where hundreds of Spider-People gather and reside in a massive complex.

Miles, along with Gwen and Hobie, meets with Miguel and reunites with Peter B. Parker, who is accompanied by his infant daughter Mayday. Miguel explains to Miles that each of the Spider-People's stories throughout the multiverse contains "canon events", such as the deaths of a police captain close to Spider-Man, and that straying from these events threatens reality and may cause that universe to collapse, which in turn could collapse the entire multiverse as a consequence. Miguel reveals that he witnessed the collapse of another universe firsthand when attempting to replace a deceased version of himself from that universe.

Miles realizes that the Spot murdering Jeff, who is set to be promoted to police captain in two days, is a canon event. Miguel imprisons Miles to prevent him from saving Jeff, but Hobie helps Miles break loose before quitting the Society. As Miles flees through the complex, Miguel orders the Society to capture him. Miguel corners Miles and tells him he was never supposed to be Spider-Man; Earth-42's spider traveling dimensions inadvertently caused the death of Earth-1610's Peter Parker, the Spot's creation, and the absence of Spider-Man on Earth-42. Miles overpowers Miguel and with the help of Margo Kess, flees to what he believes is his home dimension. Considering Gwen a liability, a furious Miguel ejects her from the Society and forcibly sends her back to Earth-65. Once there, Gwen reunites with George, who has resigned from his job as police captain. The two reconcile, and George gives Gwen a portal watch left behind by Hobie.

As the Society begins their search for Miles in Earth-1610, Gwen and Miles realizes that Miles has arrived on Earth-42 rather than his own dimension. In this world, his uncle Aaron Davis is alive while his father is dead, and New York City is riddled with unchecked crime. Miles is knocked unconscious and finds himself restrained by Aaron and Earth-42's version of the Prowler, who is revealed to be Miles. Meanwhile, Gwen speaks with Miles' parents, promising to find him and bring him home. As the Spot begins his multiversal attack on Earth-1610's New York, Miles prepares to escape his restraints, and Gwen assembles a team to find Miles, consisting of Peter B., Mayday, Pavitr, Hobie, Margo, Spider-Man Noir, Peni Parker, and Spider-Ham.

Voice cast

An early poster for the film displaying numerous Spider-People appearing in the film. In May 2023, co-director Justin K. Thompson confirmed that the film includes 280 (later expanded to around 630) variations of Spider-Man, 95 (later 150) of which are unique and named characters.

Additional voice cast includes: Shea Whigham as George Stacy, Gwen's father and a police captain; Jorma Taccone as Adriano Tumino / Vulture, a supervillain from an Italian Renaissance-inspired universe, as well as Peter Parker / Spider-Man from the 1967 animated series, which he reprises from the post-credits of Into the Spider-Verse; Greta Lee as Lyla, Miguel and the Spider Society's AI assistant; Mahershala Ali as Aaron Davis, the Earth-42 version of Miles' deceased uncle (Ali previously voiced the Earth-1610 version of Aaron in the first film); and Jharrel Jerome as Miles G. Morales / Prowler of Earth-42.

Additional iterations of Spider-Man appearing in the film as members of the Spider-Society, with speaking roles, include: Andy Samberg as Ben Reilly / Scarlet Spider; Amandla Stenberg as Margo Kess / Spider-Byte, a Spider-Woman from a virtual reality; Kimiko Glenn as Peni Parker / SP//dr, reprising her role from the first film; Taran Killam as Patrick O'Hara / Web-Slinger; Nic Novicki as Peter Parker / Lego Spider-Man, Josh Keaton as Peter Parker / Spectacular Spider-Man from the television series The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008–2009), Yuri Lowenthal as Peter Parker / Insomniac Spider-Man from the Marvel's Spider-Man video game series by Insomniac Games; Mike Rianda as Ezekiel Sims / Spider-Therapist; Sofia Barclay as Malala Windsor / Spider-UK, an original incarnation who wears a hijab; Danielle Perez as Charlotte Webber / Sun-Spider, who uses a wheelchair; and Metro Boomin, who composed music for the film, as Metro Spider-Man. Archival audio of John Mulaney as Peter Porker / Spider-Ham from the previous film is also featured; Spider-Ham later makes a non-speaking cameo, alongside Spider-Man Noir, at the end of the film. Humberto Ramos, a Spider-Man comic artist, voices Max Borne / Spider-Man 2211, whose back tentacle base Miles briefly hides behind.

Melissa Sturm voices Mary Jane "MJ" Parker, Peter B. Parker's wife and Mayday's mother; Lorraine Vélez voices Maria Morales, Rio Morales's sister. Rachel Dratch voices C. Weber, a counselor at Miles' school; and Ziggy Marley voices Lenny, a Jamaican shop owner. Pixar animator and filmmaker Peter Sohn provides the voice for Miles' best friend and roommate Ganke Lee after his dialogue was cut from Into the Spider-Verse. Elizabeth Perkins voices the Aunt May of Gwen's Earth-65; Atsuko Okatsuka voices Yuri Watanabe, a police colleague of Captain Stacy; Ayo Edebiri, Antonia Lentini, and Nicole Delaney voice Gwen's bandmates Glory, Betty and MJ; and Jack Quaid voices the Earth-65 Peter Parker who died after transforming into the Lizard. J. K. Simmons reprises his role as J. Jonah Jameson, voicing various versions of the character on AU Earth-1610, Earth-42, and Earth-65 with archive audio from other Spider-Man media being used for the Lego version on Earth-13122. Andy Leviton voices Armadillo from Earth-1610, Typeface, and Grizzly, all Spider-Society captives from unknown realities, and two background characters in Earth-65.

Live-action roles are also featured in the film, with Donald Glover appearing as an alternate version of Aaron Davis / Prowler, reprising his role from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017). Peggy Lu reprises her role as convenience store owner Mrs. Chen from the Sony's Spider-Man Universe (SSU), identified as Earth-688. Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Kirsten Dunst, and Bryce Dallas Howard appear in their respective roles as Peter Parker / Spider-Man, Mary Jane Watson, and Gwen Stacy from previous Spider-Man films through archival footage, as well as Cliff Robertson as his version of Ben Parker, and Denis Leary as George Stacy. Archival audio of Alfred Molina's Otto Octavius / Doctor Octopus from Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021) is used for a hologram version of the character with a comic book-accurate design.

Production

Development

Co-writers and producers Phil Lord and Christopher Miller

By the end of November 2018, ahead of the release of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) the following month, Sony Pictures Animation had begun developing a sequel due to the "incredible buzz" surrounding the project. The sequel was to continue the story of Miles Morales / Spider-Man, working from "seeds planted" throughout the first film. Joaquim Dos Santos and David Callaham were set to direct and write, respectively, with Amy Pascal returning from the first film as producer. The other producers of the first film—Phil Lord, Christopher Miller, Avi Arad, and Christina Steinberg—were all also expected to return in some capacities. The next month, Pascal revealed that the film would focus on Miles and Gwen Stacy / Spider-Woman, exploring a romance between the characters that was cut from the first film, and that the sequel would be a "launching pad" for a previously announced female-focused spin-off film featuring Gwen. Sony officially confirmed the sequel in November 2019, with Lord and Miller returning as producers, and a release date of April 8, 2022, announced. In April 2020, Sony shifted the film's release to October 7, 2022, due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

In February 2021, Miller said that he and Lord were working on the film's screenplay with Callaham, and that Peter Ramsey would be an executive producer on the sequel after co-directing the first film. That April, Kemp Powers and Justin K. Thompson were announced as co-directors alongside Dos Santos, and that all three had worked on the project since it began. (Thompson was production designer on the first film.) Arad and Steinberg were confirmed to return as producers with Lord, Miller and Pascal, with Alonzo Ruvalcaba co-producing and Aditya Sood, Into the Spider-Verse directors Bob Persichetti and Rodney Rothman, and Rebecca Karch and Brian Michael Bendis joining Ramsey as executive producers.

In December, Lord and Miller revealed that the film was being split into two parts: Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part One) and (Part Two), because they had written the story they wanted to tell for the sequel and realized it was too much for one film. Work on both parts was taking place simultaneously. The sequels were renamed in April 2022, becoming Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse and Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse. Their release dates were shifted then, with Across the Spider-Verse pushed back to June 2, 2023. Lord and Miller said that they had told Sony the sequel would be the same size as Into the Spider-Verse, but it ended up having the largest crew of any animated film ever, with around 1,000 people working on it. They added that the film had 240 characters and would take place across six universes.

Casting

Lord and Miller expressed interest in including Spider-Punk, Takuya Yamashiro, the "Japanese Spider-Man" from the 1978 Spider-Man series, and Italian Spiderman in the following movies. In November 2019, Lord indicated that the character Takuya Yamashiro was designed, though he didn't make an appearance in the movie. In August 2020, Jake Johnson expressed hope that he could reprise his role as Peter B. Parker from the first film in the sequel. Issa Rae was cast as Jess Drew / Spider-Woman in June 2021, Johnson confirmed that he would be returning for the sequel a month later, and Oscar Isaac was confirmed in December to be reprising his role of Miguel O'Hara / Spider-Man 2099 from the post-credits scene of Into the Spider-Verse. Also in December, Tom Holland—who plays Peter Parker / Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—revealed that Pascal had approached him about appearing in the Spider-Verse films during the filming of Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021). Holland and his co-stars Zendaya and Jacob Batalon all expressed interest in appearing in the upcoming films. Jeff Sneider of The Ankler claimed in February 2023 that Holland would appear in a live-action sequence and that his appearance had been the reason the movie was delayed from 2022 to 2023, though it turned out to be false. Christopher Daniel Barnes, who voiced Spider-Man in Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994–1998), also expressed interest in returning for the film.

In April 2022, Brian Tyree Henry and Luna Lauren Vélez were confirmed to be reprising their roles as Miles' parents from the first film while Rachel Dratch was revealed to be voicing the counselor at Miles' school. Lord, Miller, and the directors announced in June that Jason Schwartzman would provide the voice of the film's main antagonist Johnathon Ohnn / the Spot, which was added to the story after a suggestion from producer Avi Arad (a second antagonist was later written out of the movie). Powers noted that the Spot was one of "the deepest cuts in Spider-Man's rogue gallery" but the creative team was excited about his abilities, which allow the character to travel between universes. Shea Whigham and Jorma Taccone were also revealed to be voicing George Stacy and the Vulture, respectively. Taccone previously voiced Norman Osborn / Green Goblin and Peter Parker / Spider-Man from the 1967 TV series in Into the Spider-Verse. In November 2022, Daniel Kaluuya was confirmed to be voicing Hobart "Hobie" Brown / Spider-Punk in the film. In December 2022, with the reveal of the film's first poster, it was confirmed that the Peter Parker / Spider-Man from The Spectacular Spider-Man (2008–2009) would appear in the film. Spectacular showrunner Greg Weisman was not informed about the inclusion of his show's character and expressed doubts he would even be featured in the film itself. In January 2023, Nicolas Cage confirmed he would not be reprising his role of Spider-Man Noir for the film. In February 2023, it was revealed that Karan Soni was cast as Pavitr Prabhakar / Spider-Man India in the film. In April 2023, it was reported that Andy Samberg was playing Ben Reilly / Scarlet Spider. A report confirmed his casting in May 2023, when it was also confirmed that Amandla Stenberg would play Margo Kess / Spider-Byte.

Delilah, a skilled assassin who serves as the bartender at the Bar with No Name in an alternate universe, was meant to make an appearance in the film, but her scene was cut. She would later be included in the Insomniac Games video game Spider-Man 2 (2023), whose Peter Parker / Spider-Man appears in the film.

Animation and design

The main universes visited during the film, designed to look like they were each drawn by a different artist

Lord revealed that design work for new characters in the film had begun by November 2019, with comic book artist Kris Anka later revealing that he was serving as a character designer on the film. On June 9, 2020, the film's lead animator Nick Kondo announced that production had started. The different universes visited in the film were designed to look like they were each drawn by a different artist. Having learned new animation tools after working on The Mitchells vs. the Machines (2021) following the first Spider-Verse film, Lord and Miller ambitiously employed them to develop six different animation styles. The intent was to amaze the audience whenever the characters cross into a new environment so the film can accurately reflect its plot and the styles can generate various emotional backdrops. Earth-65, the home of Gwen Stacy, was designed to look like "impressionistic" watercolor paintings. The animation team created a simulator to generate this style and used a visual palette that reflects Gwen's emotions like a "three dimensional mood ring". According to co-director Justin K. Thompson, the reflection of her emotions through colors is inspired by a scene in 1950's Cinderella where her dress gets torn, and the environment reacts to that trauma. This style was also intended by Miller to remind the audience about the covers of the Spider-Gwen comic books.[citation needed] One of the two alternate Earths seen in the trailer was Earth-50101, which the crew nicknamed "Mumbattan" after Mumbai and Manhattan, due to that world being based on the one from Gotham Entertainment Group's Spider-Man: India comic book series. To give the character Pavitr Prabhakar unique motion and fighting style, the creative team researched the 2000-year-old Indian martial arts, Kalaripayattu,[citation needed] from the state of Kerala. The other universe was Nueva York, the futuristic New York City from the Marvel 2099 world, was heavily influenced by Syd Mead's neo-futurist illustrations, which has an unfinished look. Also the works of artists Ron Cobb, John Bell, John Berkey, John Harris and Ralph McQuarrie were inspirations for the city's design, in addition to the architecture of Oscar Niemeyer. The city was created as a highly controlled environment reflecting Miguel's personality, and has an authoritarian, brutalist and minimalist style of design meant to represent a "clean, strong, unified, front-facing ideology". But when going underground one realizes that it's a world that can't really be controlled.

While the cast and crew were being interviewed for Empire in March 2023, codirector Joaquim Dos Santos revealed that another universe would be "the punky New London, inhabited by Daniel Kaluuya's Spider-Punk", with a final dimension "being kept tightly under wraps for now", later revealed to be Earth-42, the world the spider that bit Miles came from and where he has become that world's version of the Prowler. Spider-Punk's animation style took two to three years to develop and is inspired by collage imagery of 1970s punk-rock album covers, posters, and zines emulating the look of Xerox prints, colored papers and images appropriated from magazines and newsprints, and has a general grayed-out quality due to copy machines not having toner in them. Also the animators experimented with different frame rates to reflect DIY punk visuals and Spider-Punk's anarchic personality and tendency of inconsistency. His body is animated on 3s or 2s (8 or 12 images), his guitar on 4s (6 images), and his outline on 2s or 1s (12 or 24 images); unlike rest of the characters that are predominantly animated on 2s. In May 2023, Jake Johnson revealed in an interview that a Lego universe would be featured in the film. The Lego sequence was done by 14-year-old Canadian animator Preston Mutanga and was added late in the movie, after the filmmakers were so impressed by his fan-made Lego recreation of the film's first teaser that they tracked him down and recruited him.

Miles' design was updated for the sequel to show him having gone through a growth spurt, while Gwen was given a new haircut and an updated costume. Rick Leonardi, the co-creator of Spider-Man 2099, was brought on to adapt his own designs for the film, while comic book artist Brian Stelfreeze was chosen to shape the visual development of Jess Drew. The Spot's design, which was influenced by Austrian artist Egon Schiele, evolves throughout the film as he gains more confidence and control of his abilities, beginning with a style that looks like an "unfinished sketch blue construction lines that evoke a comic book artist's rough drawing before the work goes to an inker". The Spot's portals were intended to look like "living ink that had spilled or splattered on the comic artist's drawing", which created new challenges for the animation team. The Vulture was given a Renaissance-era design inspired by the artwork of Leonardo da Vinci's workbooks. Thompson also revealed that the design of the spider in the "Go Home Machine" is influenced by the spider in the movie Krull (1983), which is also named "Ynyr" after a character from the film. Gwen Stacy's hair received a redesign in the movie, incorporating Gwenpool's pink highlights in a reference to Marvel Rising. This was credited by Across the Spider-Verse production designer Patrick O'Keefe to artist Peter Chan in January 2024 as having been based on Gurihiru's work on The Unbelievable Gwenpool: Beyond the Fourth Wall, with the design of Gwen Stacy's bedroom also taking influence from the color palette of Gwenpool's hospital gown.

Post-production

In May 2023, Powers revealed that the film would end on a cliffhanger and co-director Dos Santos compared it to the Star Wars original trilogy film The Empire Strikes Back (1980). Powers explained:

Across The Spider-Verse is a movie on its own, but it definitely ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. I think it's a good cliffhanger. We hope that it's a satisfying tee-up for what's coming in the third film, because you want people to be excited about what's coming next. And it helps that we knew going in that this was part two of a three-part story. Since you already know that that third story is guaranteed, you can tackle it a bit differently. That being said, there's a lot of key characters in this film, and there's a story in this film that has an arc of its own that we needed to complete.

In the same month, Powers also stated that the film would not be "tied" to the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). In the film, Miguel makes a direct reference to the events of Spider-Man: No Way Home, telling Gwen to not "get started on Doctor Strange and that little nerd back on Earth-199999" — referring to the Doctor Strange and Spider-Man of the MCU – while attributing the events of No Way Home to the collider explosion from Into the Spider-Verse. The quote is meant as a throwaway line that Lord and Miller came up with. Additionally, Donald Glover reprises his role as an alternate version of Aaron Davis / Prowler from the MCU film Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) in a live-action cameo, depicted as a prisoner of the Spider-Society displaced from his home reality. Production on Across the Spider-Verse was completed on May 20, 2023, 13 days before the U.S. release date. With a runtime of 140 minutes, it is the longest animated film ever produced by an American studio, surpassing Consuming Spirits (2012).

Allegations of poor working conditions

On June 23, 2023, Vulture reported that four people who worked on the film alleged that production had faced difficulties due to numerous requests from Lord for changes to already finished animation, as well as the need for him to approve animation layouts early in production. Lord's directions were said to take precedence over the decisions of the film's directing team and led to numerous weeks of long overtime as the animators drastically revised portions of the film several times. They further stated that difficult working conditions caused by the constant revisions caused over 100 artists to leave the project before its completion, and that both Into the Spider-Verse and The Mitchells vs. the Machines (two earlier movies that Lord and Miller co-produced for Sony) suffered from similar production issues. One artist said that production on Beyond the Spider-Verse, the film's sequel, had not progressed, and that there was "no way that" it would be completed in time for its scheduled March 2024 release window. Sony denied the allegations concerning Across the Spider-Verse's production troubles, while declining to comment on the possibility of the sequel being delayed, and producer Amy Pascal called the process of heavy revision normal.

Music

Daniel Pemberton confirmed in December 2020 that he would return to compose the sequel's score. In December 2022, Lord and Miller confirmed that Metro Boomin would create music for its soundtrack. Several artists were featured on it, including 21 Savage, Swae Lee, Lil Wayne, Future, Nas, ASAP Rocky, Lil Uzi Vert, Wizkid, Coi Leray, Offset, Becky G, Shenseea, A Boogie wit da Hoodie, JID, Don Toliver, James Blake, and 2 Chainz. For the Japanese release, an original song, "Realize" performed by Lisa, was featured. The film was supported by another single, "Mona Lisa" by Dominic Fike, released on June 2, 2023—the day of the film's premiere. Although originally set to be released as a track on the deluxe edition of the soundtrack album, a few days after its release, the track was removed. On June 23, 2023, it was announced that the track was added into some versions of Fike's second studio album Sunburn, which was released on July 7, 2023.[better source needed]

Though external to the film's score and soundtrack, Daniel Kaluuya also incorporated musical elements into his vocal performance as Spider-Punk / Hobie Brown. Kaluuya elaborated that he searched for the word "Spider-Punk" on Spotify, hoping to find fan-made playlists. He stated that after finding some he "would just listen to them, be like vibing out," helping him with the process of gauging the character's energy. Kaluuya further noted that "he wanted the character's voice to feel like a song," and that a take in which he portrayed the character as "rapping, but in a punk style" would be the one used in the film.

Marketing

In May 2020, Sony entered into a promotional partnership with Hyundai Motor Company to showcase their new models and technologies in the film. A prologue for the film was released at Comic Con Experience in December 2021, revealing the title and the fact that the film is a two-part sequel. Following the announcement of the new title and release date in April 2022, Lord and Miller showed 15 minutes of the film (with unfinished animation) at Sony's CinemaCon panel. Lord, Miller, and the directors showed the same footage at the Annecy International Animation Film Festival in June, with updated animation and effects. In February 2023, Funko Pops figures based on characters from the film were revealed. In April 2023, another 14-minute footage was previewed at Sony's CinemaCon panel. A second trailer was released on April 4. It gained 148.6M views within 24 hours, becoming the most-viewed second trailer for a Marvel film within that timespan and also the most-viewed superhero film trailer of the summer. Rolling Stone's Larisha Paul remarked that Miles wanted the other heroes to accept and validate him but also wanted to create his own story and not be controlled by them. Christian Holub of Entertainment Weekly felt the Spider-People were more antagonistic and that Miles' family was in more danger than in the first film. Meanwhile, Abid Rahman from The Hollywood Reporter compared Miles' introduction to the Spider-People in the trailer to the "vibe" of Citadel of Ricks and highlighted the reference to the Spider-Man pointing meme. Commentators also noted that the trailer posited that Miles could potentially have to choose between saving the multiverse or his family.

On May 15, 2023; the film started the sale of different Spider-Verse themed food items for their collaboration with Burger King. The items available during the promotion included the Spider-Verse Whopper with a red bun and the Spider-Verse Sundae. On May 20, 2023, Nike released a special iteration of the Air Jordan 1 High OG inspired by the film. On May 23, 2023, Epic Games added skins of Miles Morales and Spider-Man 2099 to Fortnite based on their designs in the film. The electronics manufacturer ZOTAC also partnered with Sony Pictures to create limited-edition Spider-Man-themed RTX 4070 graphics cards.

Release

Theatrical

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse premiered on May 30, 2023, at the Grand Rex in Paris, France, and at the Regency Village Theater in Los Angeles, and was theatrically released in the United States on June 2, in premium large formats and IMAX. Unlike the first film, this film was not released in 3D. It was originally set for release on April 8, 2022, but was shifted to October 7 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was then moved to the June 2023 date. It was the first Sony Pictures Animation film since The Angry Birds Movie 2 (2019) to receive a worldwide theatrical release after a number of the studio's animated films were assigned direct-to-streaming releases on Netflix and Amazon Prime Video in response to the closure of cinema theaters due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film was re-released in IMAX in limited theaters on January 19, 2024, which marked the debut of a new Columbia Pictures logo that commemorates the studio's 100th anniversary. In China, the film premiered in Beijing on May 31, and was released on June 2.

On June 9, 2023, in response to complaints of sound mixing issues from viewers in some theaters, Sony sent an updated version of the film with new audio mixing to theaters. An official source told Variety that, while the issues were only present at a "handful of theaters", all prints of the film had been updated and re-sent to cinemas. It was reported that at least two versions of the film—distinct in slight differences in dialogue and animations—exist in theaters. For example, in one version, a scene between Miguel and Lyla ends with Lyla giving a fist bump, while another ends in Lyla taking a selfie of them. The film's associate editor, Andy Leviton, confirmed the reports.

Transgender iconography and censorship

A screenshot from the film, showing Gwen Stacy in her room with a "Protect Trans Kids" transgender flag on the right, above the doorframe

The film's release initially was delayed in the MENA region until June 22, 2023, but later withdrawn from cinemas across the region because the film briefly features transgender iconography, such as a transgender flag in two scenes, including on a banner seen hanging in Gwen Stacy's bedroom with the words "Protect Trans Kids". The flag's appearance led to speculation that Gwen supports her universe's transgender rights movement and led some to interpret Gwen as being transgender herself. Although she is not identified as transgender in the film, viewers and critics who supported this interpretation additionally pointed to the use of the flag's colors (light pink, light blue, and white) elsewhere in scenes involving Gwen and her universe, and the perceived parallels to coming out in her character arc within the film. However, others have noted that the blue and white colors were already used by the comics' version of Spider-Woman Gwen Stacy, and thus were not necessarily proof that the film version of the character is trans.

Home media

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was released on digital download by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment on August 8, 2023, and on Ultra HD Blu-ray, Blu-ray, and DVD on September 5. The digital release of the film featured additional alterations from the initial theatrical cut, such as the removal of several lines of dialogue. This version, which was also available in some theaters, was described by Miller as "an international version" of the film created to help with the necessary translations needed and to be approved by the French censorship board. He added that the animators "cleaned up and tweaked" some of the shots that had already been submitted for the finished version, with other members of the team, such as in the sound department, also suggesting alternate ideas, stating, "Because it's a multiverse movie, it's like there's a multiverse of the movie – that was really the reasoning behind it. It was trying to make the best possible version that everyone was going to be the proudest of." Lord believed some of these changes created an improved film. Some of the alterations have been controversial with the film's fanbase.

In April 2021, Sony signed deals with Netflix and Disney for the rights to their 2022 to 2026 film slate, following the films' theatrical and home media windows. Netflix signed for exclusive "pay 1 window" streaming rights, which is typically an 18-month window and included the sequels to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse; this deal built on an existing output deal that Netflix had signed with Sony Pictures Animation in 2014. Disney signed for "pay 2 window" rights for the films, which would be streamed on Disney+ and Hulu as well as broadcast on Disney's linear television networks. Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse was released on Netflix in the United States on October 31, 2023.

Reception

Box office

Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse grossed $381.6 million in the United States and Canada, and $309.3 million in other territories, for a worldwide gross of $690.9 million. The film surpassed Into the Spider-Verse's total gross of $384.5 million after 12 days of release, and overtook The Smurfs to become Sony Pictures Animation's highest-grossing film. Deadline Hollywood calculated the net profit of the film to be $328 million, when factoring together all expenses and revenues placed it third on their list of 2023's "Most Valuable Blockbusters".

In the United States and Canada, Across the Spider-Verse was released alongside The Boogeyman, and was initially projected to gross around $80 million from 4,313 theaters in its opening weekend, with rival studios predicting it could reach $90 million. It made $17.35 million from Thursday night previews, the third-best total for an animated film after The Lion King ($23 million in 2019) and Incredibles 2 ($18.5 million in 2018). After making $51.7 million on Friday (including previews, the best first-day of 2023 up to that point), weekend estimates were increased to $113 million. It went on to debut to $120.7 million, the second-highest opening weekend total of 2023 (behind The Super Mario Bros. Movie's $146.4 million) and the eighth-best ever for an animated film. It also surpassed Hotel Transylvania 2 ($48.4 million in 2015) to achieve the highest opening weekend for a Sony Pictures Animation film. The film made $55.5 million in its second weekend, finishing second behind newcomer Transformers: Rise of the Beasts. It then made $27.8 million in its third weekend, finishing third. The film would make $19.3 million on its fourth weekend, topping the box office once again amidst competition from No Hard Feelings, a new release, and The Flash and Elemental, both holdovers.

Outside of the US and Canada, the film grossed $88.1 million from 59 markets in its opening weekend. In its second weekend, Across the Spider-Verse grossed $47 million, for a drop of 44%, while in its third weekend, it grossed $27.6 million from 60 markets, including Japan where the film made $2.8 million. As of July 9, 2023, the highest grossing territories were China ($49.6 million), UK ($35 million), Mexico ($27.8 million), Australia ($20.6 million) and France ($13.4 million).

Critical response

On the review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, 95% of 386 critics' reviews are positive, with an average rating of 8.6/10. The website's consensus reads: "Just as visually dazzling and action-packed as its predecessor, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse thrills from start to cliffhanger conclusion." Metacritic, which uses a weighted average, assigned the film a score of 86 out of 100, based on 60 critics, indicating "universal acclaim". Audiences surveyed by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale, while those polled at PostTrak gave it a 93% overall positive score, with 82% saying they would "definitely recommend" it.

Brian Tallerico of RogerEbert.com gave the film 4 out of 4 stars, writing, "Like the work of a young artist who refuses to be restrained by the borders of the frame, Across the Spider-Verse is loaded with incredible imagery and fascinating ideas. It is a smart, thrilling piece of work that reminded me of other great part twos like The Dark Knight and The Empire Strikes Back." Ann Hornaday of The Washington Post gave the film 3/4 stars, calling it "an extravagant, very cool love letter to graphic design, executed with superb draftsmanship and giddy, infectious joy." Richard Roeper of the Chicago Sun-Times also gave it 3 out of 4 stars, writing, "It's a bit too much at times, but it's also pretty great, and it'll be a huge surprise if the third chapter in the trilogy isn't equally entertaining." Kevin Maher of The Times gave the film 4 out of 5 stars, writing, "It rarely draws breath between set pieces, and creates distinct and spectacular environments for each separate spider-verse."

David Fear of Rolling Stone said that the film "completely recaptures the panel-to-panel thrill of discovering your respective era's teen-angsty Marvel icon. The thrill of the multiversal new is gone. Everything else, however, is extra-webbed for your pleasure." Alison Willmore of Vulture wrote, "Across the Spider-Verse looks incredible, even better than the groundbreaking first installment, but what's truly impressive about it is how willing it is to entrust its storytelling to its animation." The Atlantic's David Sims wrote that the film "avoids seeming like a physics lesson because its visuals are consistently thrilling; the most static bits of dialogue still pop because of how daring the animation is." Kyle Smith of The Wall Street Journal described the film as being "visually hypercaffeinated", but with a slow plot in the first half of the film, plotlines being a "hectic series of clashes", action sequences that were "jumpy but not especially engaging", and "too many long monologues". Jake Wilson of The Age gave the film 3 out of 5 stars, writing, "Typically for Lord and Miller, the upshot is both adventurous and conformist, an outwardly bold reimagining of the material that never stops congratulating us for our brand loyalty, and which plays it safer in plot terms than the early sequences might lead you to hope."

Accolades

At the 96th Academy Awards, Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse received a nomination for Best Animated Feature. Its other nominations include seven Annie Awards (winning all, a clean sweep), two British Academy Film Awards, three Critics' Choice Movie Awards (winning one), and three Golden Globe Awards. The American Film Institute named Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse one of the ten-best films of 2023. It also won the National Board of Review Award for Best Animated Film. IndieWire listed Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse as the second greatest animated film of the 21st century.

Other responses

Guillermo del Toro, the winner of 2023 Oscar for Best animated film, praised the film, saying "Spider-Verse will fulfill and heal." During a London Q&A screening, Andrew Garfield, who portrayed Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man films, called the film "a masterpiece of pure cinema". Bryce Dallas Howard, who played Gwen Stacy in Spider-Man 3 (2007), expressed her and her father, Ron Howard's, love for the movie, calling it "an astonishing film on every level". The filmmakers behind Kung Fu Panda 4 cited the Spider-Verse films as inspiration for their fight scenes, incorporating an "inkbrush" style.

An Internet meme involving the notion of canon events began spreading on TikTok after the film's release, which later became a trend. The meme's word "canon" elaborated its special definition as "ironic (if not actually painful)" experiences in real life. Collins Dictionary selected "canon event" as one of its ten contenders for Word of the year in 2023, defining the term as "an event that is essential to the formation of an individual's character or identity."

Future

Sequel

A third Spider-Verse film was confirmed in December 2021 when Lord and Miller revealed that Across the Spider-Verse was being split into two films, with Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse (Part Two) expected to be released in 2023. Lord and Miller returned to produce and worked on both parts with Dos Santos, Powers, and Thompson returning as directors. In April 2022, the film was retitled Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse and it was given a release date of March 29, 2024, with Schwartzman confirmed to return as the voice of the Spot in Beyond the Spider-Verse. Vulture reported in June 2023 that the film was not expected to meet its March 2024 release date as previously scheduled because work had only taken place on concept tests or explorations from when it was originally being developed as two parts, after which the creative team shifted their focus to completing Across the Spider-Verse first. Lord and Miller responded, saying the production would take a necessary amount of time to complete Beyond the Spider-Verse and explained that they would not reserve a release date if it did not fit within their schedule. They also said the sequel would conclude their trilogy of Spider-Verse films. In July, Sony removed Beyond the Spider-Verse from its release schedule due to the 2023 SAG-AFTRA strike, which prevented the voice cast from recording dialogue. The March 2024 date was given to Sony's Ghostbusters: Frozen Empire. After the strike ended in November, voice recording for Beyond the Spider-Verse was set to resume imminently, and production had resumed by December 2023.

After Sony Pictures CEO Tony Vinciquerra said in May 2024 that the studio was exploring different opportunities to make their films less expensive and more efficiently by primarily using artificial intelligence (AI), which was a central issue in the 2023 Hollywood labor disputes, Miller responded to concerns regarding the use of AI in Beyond the Spider-Verse, stating that generative artificial intelligence would not be used in the film. He explained that one of their goals for the Spider-Verse films was to create visual styles that had not been used in a major studio computer-generated film, and to not repurpose other artists' work plagiarized by AI. Some machine learning technology, which is distinct from generative AI as it is based on work already done on the project, had been used by Sony Pictures Imageworks to assist animators during the production of the franchise's preceding films.

Spin-off

Sony began developing a Spider-Women film in November 2018 that would focus on three generations of female, Spider-related characters. Bek Smith was writing the spin-off, and Lauren Montgomery was in talks to direct. Pascal said the film would focus on the characters Gwen Stacy / Spider-Gwen, Cindy Moon / Silk, and Jess Drew / Spider-Woman, and said Across the Spider-Verse would serve as a "launching pad" for it. Lord and Miller were confirmed to be producing the film in April 2021, when the project was undergoing rewrites. Pascal and Arad reaffirmed that the film was in development in May 2023, when Arad said it would be made sooner than expected, while Steinfeld expressed interest in the film.

Manga spin-off

On May 29, 2023, it was announced that a manga spin-off titled Spider-Man: Octopus Girl written by Hideyuki Furuhashi and illustrated by Betten Court would begin serialization on June 20 on Shueisha's Shōnen Jump+ website and app. The story revolves around Doctor Octopus, who falls into a coma and has been reawakened in the body of young Japanese middle schooler named Otoha Okutamiya. In February 2024, Viz Media announced that they licensed the series for English publication in the fourth quarter of 2024.

Notes

  1. ^ As depicted in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
  2. ^ This statement is referring to many cinemas/movie theaters in the MENA region who have changed the release date on their official websites, and stopped the sale of tickets. Some cinemas include: VOX Cinemas (UAE, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Oman, Lebanon, Kuwait, Egypt, Bahrain), ROXY Cinemas (UAE), Grand Cinemas (Lebanon, Kuwait, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia). All of these theaters in the MENA region state June 22, 2023, as the release date of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, in all countries where they operate.

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External links