Studio giant Sony revealed an expansion of its “Spider-Man” franchise Friday to include spinoffs and sequels, in a move to rival Disney’s Marvel film world centred on “The Avengers” characters. Sony Pictures Entertainment named a five-strong team of writers to form a “franchise brain trust to expand the universe for the brand and to develop a continuous tone and thread throughout the films.”
The plans fit with the growing importance for Hollywood of blockbuster franchises and sequels with characters that are a proven box-office draw, as the industry grapples with an ongoing revolution in viewing habits and technology. Sony , in association with Marvel Entertainment, is already working on “Amazing Spider-Man 3,” due for release in 2016, following the first movie in the series in 2012 and a sequel due for release in 2014. On Friday, they announced two spinoff films, “Venom” and “The Sinister Six,” focusing on villains in the franchise.
“The Spider-Man film franchise is one of our studio’s greatest assets,” said Doug Belgrad, president of Columbia Pictures, in a statement announcing the expansion plans.  The five writers are Alex Kurtzman, Roberto Orci, Jeff Pinkner, Ed Solomon, and Drew Goddard. They will work with producers Avi Arad and Matt Tolmach, and Marc Webb, who directed 2012’s “The Amazing Spider-Man” and the sequel out next year. “We are thrilled with the creative team we have assembled to delve more deeply into the world that Marc, Avi and Matt have begun to explore in ‘The Amazing Spider-Man’ and ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’,” added Belgrad.