The success of 2018’s Venom highlights the fact that three previous attempts at making a Venom movie were canceled. These failed attempts at a Venom movie can be attributed to various factors, including the lack of superhero movies in the past and troubled productions of other Spider-Man franchises. Adapting Venom on-screen is challenging, as shown by the mixed critical reception of the 2018 film and its sequel, proving the difficulties of bringing Spider-Man villains to life without the presence of Spider-Man.

2018’s Venom was not only responsible for starting Sony’s Spider-Man Universe but managed to break a curse that had proved the downfall of three prior filmmaking efforts. The film was released at the height of Marvel’s cinematic dominance from director Ruben Fleischer yet exists in a separate continuity to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Since then, the film has spawned a sequel and spin-off in the forms of Venom: Let There Be Carnage and Morbius respectively, with Madame Web, an untitled Venom 3, and Kraven the Hunter all releasing as part of Marvel’s upcoming 2024 movies.

As evident by the slew of releases planned by Sony, Venom was a major success that kickstarted an entire franchise. Nothing sums this up more than the 2024 release date of Venom 3 which will look to end the trilogy while likely leaving room for more adventures. However, the obvious success of Venom brings to light the tumultuous history of the character concerning big-screen adaptations, with the 2018 installment breaking a two-decade-long curse that saw three other movies be canceled.

3 Separate Venom Movies Were Canceled Before Sony’s 2018 Film

The success of Tom Hardy’s Venom movie highlights the surprising fact that three separate attempts at crafting a Venom movie were canned prior to the 2018 effort. The first unsuccessful attempt came as far back as the 1990s, before Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man trilogy truly catapulted the characters of the comics into mainstream pop culture. The film was intended to be written by David S. Goyer yet stalled before the rights to the character of Venom reverted to Sony Pictures by 2007. This explains the character’s appearance in that same year as part of Spider-Man 3, played by Topher Grace.

Herein lies the next attempt at a Venom movie that did not come to fruition: a spin-off of Spider-Man 3 starring Grace as the character. After multiple writers came and went including Jacob Estes, the duo of Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese, and Gary Ross, the film was also scrapped in favor of 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man reboot. In December 2013, six months before the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, Sony producer Avi Arad announced a Venom-centric movie as part of the franchise titled Venom: Carnage, directed by Alex Kurtzman. The film was then canceled upon the reboot of Spider-Man within the MCU.

Why Venom Took So Long To Get Made

By the time of the release of 2018’s Venom, movies centered on the character had been attempted for over 20 years, begging the question of why one took so long to get made. The original project’s failure in the 1990s was likely down to the lack of superhero movies in franchise filmmaking that really only began to boom in the mid-2000s. Regarding the spin-off of Spider-Man 3, it is no secret that the third Raimi film underwent a troubled production, causing Raimi to leave the franchise and forcing Sony’s 2012 reboot.

The spin-offs planned as part of The Amazing Spider-Man franchise stalled when the second installment in the series did the same. Sony was disappointed with the critical and commercial reception of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, throwing each spin-off into doubt before the franchise was completely rebooted. Finally, it remains the case that adapting Venom on-screen is difficult in and of itself. Even the 2018 film and its sequel were poorly received critically, proving the challenges present in adapting Spider-Man villains without Spider-Man. As such, the issues with adapting Venom to cinema persist, despite 2018’s Venom breaking the curse that plagued prior efforts from Sony Pictures.

 How did Venom break a 20-year-old curse?  Read More