Female-led ‘Spider-Man’ film marks trend toward girl heroes

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LOS ANGELES — Spider-Man may be getting a female counterpart.

Sony — the studio behind the “Spider-Man” films — has confirmed it’s at work developing a project for a female superhero in the Spider-Man universe, a source close to negotiations said.

The female superhero film would likely come out in 2017, according to Deadline.com and The Hollywood Reporter. The trade publications report that Lisa Joy has been tapped to write the script and Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach are producing.

The news comes amid rumors that Columbia Pictures — which is owned by Sony — is seriously considering a female-led Ghostbusters movie.

The decision is driven by a number of factors, according to the industry publications. First, female superheroes are becoming more common, what with Wonder Woman joining the “Batman v Superman” cast, Scarlett Johansson’s popular turn as Black Widow in Marvel’s “Avengers” film and Marvel’s recent announcement of a female Thor.

Moreover, audiences have responded to women-led action films. Johansson’s “Lucy” debuted at the top of the box office its opening weekend and stayed strong in its second week, finishing No. 2 behind “Guardians of the Galaxy” and ahead of “Get on Up” and the Dwayne “Rock” Johnson-led “Hercules.”

No word on which character will be the protagonist in the new film, though there has been a Spider-Woman, an identity adopted by several characters.

The next “Spider-Man” film has been pushed back to 2018, so Sony is filling the gap with other films from the character’s world. According to the trades, first up will be “Sinister Six,” which puts the Spider-Man villains together in one film. Drew Goddard — who oversaw “The Cabin in the Woods” — is writing and directing the film, which has a release date set for 2016.

Though Spider-Man is a Marvel character, Sony’s Columbia Pictures has released the Sam Raimi and Marc Webb films featuring the webslinger, including 2014’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2.”

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