Will a new Spider-Man save the movie franchise?


Comic book fans rejoice! A new Spider-Man has finally been chosen.

Little-known British actor, Tom Holland, 19, will be swinging into the action-packed role for upcoming films, Marvel studios and Sony Pictures announced on Tuesday.

Tom Holland
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Holland is the third actor to play Spider-Man in the film franchise, which launched in 2002. He was chosen because of his "special" screen tests and impressive acting resume, Marvel announced in a statement online.

The first standalone movie from the new Spider-Man franchise is expected to hit cinemas on July 28, 2017, directed by Jon Watts.

Amy Pascal, former Sony Pictures Entertainment co-chairman, said Holland was the "perfect actor" to introduce Spider-Man into Marvel's Cinematic Universe—the movie world of comic book characters such as the Avengers in which the web-slinger has never previously appeared.

"For Peter Parker (who becomes Spider-Man after being bitten by a radioactive arachnid), we had to find a vibrant, talented young actor capable of embodying one of the most well-known characters in the world. With Tom, we've found the perfect actor to bring Spider-Man's story into the Marvel Cinematic Universe," Pascal said in a statement.

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Declining revenues

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Despite featuring one of the world's most recognized superheroes, the Spider-Man franchise has seen a decline across the world in cinema revenue as each film has been rolled out.

In the U.S., for instance, 2002's "Spider-Man" with Tobey Maguire generated $403.7 million. It also posted the first-ever $100 million-plus weekend in North America, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Rentrak.

However, "Spider-Man 3" in 2007 only grossed $336.5 million in the U.S. and the rebooted "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" in 2014 grossed $202.85 million.

Experts told CNBC that part of the problem was that the first two movies in the franchise were so strong that the sequels were anticlimactic—particularly when the reboot with Andrew Garfield was launched very shortly after the first three movies were out.

"The reboot happened far too soon, and I think that cost the franchise some of the goodwill it needed to get over scripts that weren't spectacular, even if they had individual elements in them that were strong," said Augie De Blieck, columnist at Comic Book Resources.

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Dergarabedian said that casting Tom Holland could "energize the fan base and reinvigorate interest." Holland is less well-known than Maguire, or even his successor, Andrew Garfield, but has performed in "Billy Elliot: The Musical" in London's West End, "The Impossible" in 2012 and held a television role in the U.K. mini-series "Wolf Hall" with Damian Lewis.

"A new cast announcement for a character as iconic as Spider-Man is always big news and hopefully the casting of Tom Holland, who truly looks the part of a high school-aged Peter Parker and is a terrific young actor, will energize the fan base and reinvigorate interest and the box office when the film opens in late July 2017," said Dergarabedian.

Before appearing in his own movie, Holland's Spider-Man is expected to make an appearance in 2016's "Captain America: Civil War."

"If he can launch strongly from a rumored appearance in the next Captain America movie, that'll be a big help," said De Blieck. "Even a small cameo appearance done right could be enough to bring people back to being excited for the next Spider-Man movie."

Marvel announcing this February that Spider-Man would join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which could help boost the crucial merchandise sales —despite not releasing any movies in 2013, the Spider-Man franchise accumulated $1.3 billion in retail sales globally, according to "The Licensing Letter."

"The big question this next movie will answer is, with the new Sony/Marvel deal in place, if the power of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will be enough to boost even a flagging franchise like the Spider-Man movies," said De Blieck.

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