Spider-Man is a 2002 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics superhero of the same title. Directed by Sam Raimi from a screenplay by David Koepp, it is the first installment in Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy, and stars Tobey Maguire as the titular character, alongside Willem Dafoe, Kirsten Dunst, James Franco, Cliff Robertson, and Rosemary Harris. The film chronicles Spider-Man’s origin story and early superhero career. After being bitten by a genetically-altered spider, outcast teenager Peter Parker develops spider-like superhuman abilities and adopts a masked superhero identity to fight crime and injustice in New York City, facing the sinister Green Goblin (Dafoe) in the process.
Development on a live-action Spider-Man film began in the 1980s. Filmmakers Tobe Hooper, James Cameron, and Joseph Zito were all attached to direct the film at one point. However, the project would languish in development hell due to licensing and financial issues. After progress on the film stalled for nearly 25 years, it was licensed for a worldwide release by Columbia Pictures in 1999 after it acquired options from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on all previous scripts developed by Cannon Films, Carolco, and New Cannon.
Exercising its option on just two elements from the multi-script acquisition (a different screenplay was written by James Cameron, Ted Newsom, John Brancato, Barney Cohen, and Joseph Goldman), Sony hired Koepp to create a working screenplay (credited as Cameron’s), and Koepp received sole credit in [final billing. Directors Roland Emmerich, Ang Lee, Chris Columbus, Barry Sonnenfeld, Tim Burton, Michael Bay, Martin Campbell, Jan de Bont, M.
Night Shyamalan, Tony Scott, and David Fincher were considered to direct the project before Raimi was hired as director in 2000. The Koepp script was rewritten by Scott Rosenberg during pre-production and received a dialogue polish from Alvin Sargent during production. Filming took place in Los Angeles and New York City from January to June 2001. Sony Pictures Imageworks handled the film’s visual effects.
Spider-Man premiered at the Mann Village Theater on April 29, 2002, and was released in the United States on May 3. The film received positive reviews from audiences and critics who praised Raimi’s direction, the performances, visual effects, action sequences, and musical score. It was the first film to reach $100 million in a single weekend as well as the most successful film based on a comic book at the time.
With a box office gross of over $825 million worldwide, it was the third highest-grossing film of 2002, the highest-grossing superhero film and the sixth highest-grossing film overall at the time of its release. Spider-Man is credited for redefining the modern superhero genre, as well as the summer blockbuster. After its success, the film spawned two sequels, Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3, released in 2004 and 2007 respectively. Maguire and Dafoe later reprised their roles in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) film Spider-Man: No Way Home (2021), which dealt with the concept of the multiverse and linked the Raimi trilogy to the MCU.