After going through the hands of such cult creators as Roger Corman, Tobe Hopper, and Albert Pyun, James Cameron became the first major director to tackle the Spider-Man project once the rights were given to Carolco Pictures. He handed in his initial screenplay in 1993, which viewed Peter Parker’s powers in a more symbolic light. Cameron described his vision to ScreenCrush as ” … that untapped reservoir of potential that people have that they don’t recognize in themselves. And it was also in my mind a metaphor for puberty and all the changes to your body, your anxieties about society, about society’s expectations, your relationships with your gender of choice that you’re attracted to, all those things.”
This notion led to the concept of Spider-Man organically shooting webbing out of his wrists, a significant difference from the mechanical web-shooters from the comics. The change would remain in Sam Raimi’s version. Unfortunately, Carolco went under not long after Cameron’s pitch. Following a failed attempt at convincing 20th Century Fox to buy the rights, the director left the project and instead took on “Titanic.”
Once Sony Pictures got the Spider-Man rights in 1999, the hunt was on for a filmmaker. Such names as Tim Burton, Chris Columbus, Michael Bay, and Barry Sonnenfeld were tossed about before Raimi convinced the Sony heads he was the man for the job. We may never know what a Spider-Man flick from the minds of David Fincher or Cameron may have looked like, but it’s hard to say Sony regretted the decision when Raimi’s vision webbed up over $820 million worldwide in 2002.