After the film's release, Marvel made a decision to have Peter Parker undergo a further mutation, which included having him shoot his own webbing, rather than use his artificial webbing from his webshooters which was met with some controversy. However, this was later undone in 2007 after the events of the One More Day storyline where Spider-Man would use his artificial webbing again.
In the final battle between Spider-Man and the Goblin, the CGI artists had to change the color of the blood pouring from Spider-Man's mouth to a clear liquid, indicating spit. This was to ensure a PG rating.
During the World Unity Fair fight scene, in the background one of the signs on the buildings shows a police officer and behind him read the words "Protecting, Serving, Blah Blah Blah."
During the World Unity parade, a billboard for Terminix can be seen, one of many insect-related inside jokes.
Outside the library, Uncle Ben tells Peter the famous words, "With great power comes great responsibility." This well-quoted line came from a 1962 published issue, although it was part of a narrative caption. When Spider-man's origin was retold once every few years, it was reassigned to Ben.
Before Willem Dafoe received the role of the Green Goblin, Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich, Bill Paxton, John Travolta, and Robert De Niro were offered the role. The role was originally intended to be played by Billy Crudup, who even dropped out of other projects to act in this film, but he was considered too young to play the part of Norman Osborn and was declined the role. Many other actors, including De Niro and Travolta, turned down the role. The final actor in line to play Norman was Bill Paxton, but Sam Raimi was finally convinced that he was right for the part after a few meetings. Paxton's father still appears in the film as Osborn's elderly housekeeper.
The construction crew for the art department spent almost a year building the 100 sets needed for the film.
When Peter Parker browses through several newspapers looking for a used car, one of the ads shown is for an Alfa Romeo convertible: that model was marketed in Italy under the name Spider.
The film caused some controversy in England when the BBFC rated it 12, going on record to say it was the most violent movie they had seen that was aimed at younger viewers. The distributor had requested a PG rating, but this was denied due to the levels of "personal violence" and the prevalent revenge theme. Many parents complained about the decision, saying how disappointed their children were at not being able to legally see the film (the 12 at this time was a legal age limit). However, when the new 12A rating was introduced in August 2002, Spider-Man (2002) was re-released with this new advisory rating, along with a new marketing campaign stressing that children could now go and see the film.
David Koepp's fourth screenplay to hold the opening weekend box office record. The others are Jurassic Park (1993) (June 1993), Mission: Impossible (1996) (May 1996) and The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) (May 1997).
The rights for Spider-Man were in limbo for years, switching between studios. In fact, in a 1987 issue of Variety there was an advertisement proclaiming that Cannon studios would begin principal photography for the film on Nov. 14, 1988.
Sam Raimi hoped to use more traditional VFX (stuntwork and digital mattes) for the film, but John Dykstra explained to him that Spider-Man's flexibility and agility meant that such stunts would be near-impossible to physically enact and so Raimi decided to use computer-generated imagery. However, Raimi did not want it to be complete animation, so none of the VFX shots were 100% computer generated.
WILHELM SCREAM: As Peter enters the wrestling arena, the wrestler slams his opponent to the deck. The Wilhelm Scream is barely audible, but definitely there.
Zach Hudson, the stunt double for Tobey Maguire, fractured his leg after a stunt went wrong and he slammed in to a brick wall.
Tobey Maguire was approached for the film largely as a result of his performance in The Cider House Rules (1999). Sam Raimi felt that Maguire's performance in the film embodied much of the character and personal traits he was looking for in Peter/Spider-Man.
When Peter Parker tests out his webbing for the first time, among the notable catch phrases he says, he also uses the same gesture (middle and third fingers folded into the palm, the rest extended outward) he typically uses in the comic books to fire his mechanical webbing wrist guns.
Wes Bentley was considered for the role of Peter/Spider-Man, and was widely viewed as the choice of most fans for the part.
When James Franco joked about Tobey Maguire's 'frog-like' features on set, the latter was reportedly genuinely upset by Franco's comments. This created friction between the two actors, which led to the existing rivalry between them now - a rivalry that was admitted to by Maguire in interviews since the Spider-Man franchise.
Bleu's song "Somebody Else" was originally written to be the theme for a different superhero, Superman for the TV series Smallville (2001).
Cingular Wireless, whose logo in very prominent within the movie and the movie's promotional campaigns, was not actually available in New York City at the time of the movie's release.
To create Spider-Man's costume, Tobey Maguire was fitted for the skintight outfit, being covered with layers of substance to create the suit's shape. It was designed as a single piece, except for the mask. The webbing that accented the costume was cut by computer.
The Moondance Diner where Mary Jane Watson works is the same one that "Rent" author Jonathan Larson, and his muse Jesse L. Martin, worked at prior to quitting to pursue a career writing musicals.
Among the page-two headlines advertised on the front page of the Daily Bugle: "Public Clamors for Pest Control" and "New York Fears the Bug - 20 Victims to Date."
Josh Hartnett turned down the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man.
When Uncle Ben drops Peter off to go to the library, a bus can be seen driving by with a promotional advertisement that reads, "The Producers," a Mel Brooks stage musical. Brooks later sued Sony Pictures Entertainment for unwanted advertisement in motion-picture space.
When James Cameron was developing Spider-Man in the early 1990s, Charlie Sheen actively campaigned for the role, apparently to Cameron's disinterest. After Titanic (1997), Cameron said his only choice was Leonardo DiCaprio before he eventually passed onto other projects.
The scene at Columbia University was filmed on an unseasonably warm spring day. However, the costume department had provided the high school extras with cold-weather clothing. The real Columbia University students can be seen in the background wearing shorts and t-shirts by contrast.
James Cameron 's proposed script was said to be laced with violence, profanity and a steamy bedroom scene between Peter and Mary Jane. Marvel rejected the script as they wanted the movie to be family friendly, as the Spider-Man character has always been depicted.
Actor/stuntman Scott Leva was considered for the role of Peter Parker/Spider-Man when the film project was first proposed in the mid-1980s.
The movie depicts Mary Jane as growing up next door to Peter and living with her parents. In the original story, Mary Jane was first introduced as the frequently visiting niece of the Parkers' neighbor Anna Watson, a best friend of Aunt May, but was never actually met by Peter until he was in college. However, in The Ultimate Spider Man, a comics reboot, Mary Jane was one of his neighbors earlier in life.
Some of the spiders used in the film were imported from New Zealand.
When the project began in the late 1980s, the role of Mary Jane Watson was considered for many actresses, including Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ally Sheedy, Jodie Foster, Natasha Richardson, Phoebe Cates, Tatum O'Neal, Bridget Fonda, Lori Loughlin, Diane Lane, Sarah Jessica Parker, Brooke Shields, Kyra Sedgwick, Justine Bateman, Nicole Kidman, Julia Roberts, Molly Ringwald, Jennifer Aniston, Uma Thurman, Jennifer Connelly, Winona Ryder, Christina Applegate, Cameron Diaz, Alyssa Milano, Tori Spelling, Neve Campbell, Tiffani Thiessen, Alyson Hannigan and Drew Barrymore. But when the project eventually went into pre-production, all of them were considered too old for the part.
The writers Alvin Sargent & Scott Rosenberg contribute to the last uncredited re-write on the shooting script.
Sam Raimi was not Sony's first choice as director. Others considered were Chris Columbus, Tony Scott, Jan de Bont, James Cameron, Roland Emmerich, Ang Lee, David Fincher and M. Night Shyamalan.
The shoot was fast-tracked due to an impending actors/ directors/ writers strike that was anticipated for summer 2001. The strike never actually took place.
The camera that Peter Parker uses is a 1981 Canon New F-1 SLR, with the Canon logo blacked out.
In an online interview with the Planet Origo website, director Albert Pyun said that he was hired to direct "Spider-Man" for Cannon Films back in 1988. He said that his movie would have featured the origin of Spider-Man, featured Dr. Curt Connors, a.k.a. the Lizard, as the film's main villain, and that most of the movie would have been featured in the sewers of Brooklyn, where Spider-Man would chase after, and fight with, the Lizard. His plans to direct "Spider-Man" fell through when Cannon Films went bankrupt. Oddly enough, his basic story line was used in 2012 in the reboot The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).
The film marked the first live action to depict many of Spider-Man's longtime regular supporting characters (Uncle Ben, Mary Jane Watson, Betty Brandt, Flash Thompson, Norman and Harry Osborne). The Amazing Spider-Man (1977) live action TV series, which Stan Lee found dissatisfying, had largely eschewed the comic book supporting characters in favor of ones created for the TV show.
Alicia Witt, Mena Suvari, Eliza Dushku and Elisha Cuthbert auditioned for the role of Mary-Jane Watson. Dushku's screen test can be seen on the DVD special features.
The interior of the visit to Columbia University was actually filmed in the main rotunda of the Natural History Museum in Los Angeles. The large electron microscope in the center of the set was actually made of plywood, plaster and fiberglass, concealing three 16-foot bronze centerpieces.
A sign in front of Peter Parker and Harry Osborne's apartment building: Webstring Platform.
The balloons at the Unity Festival were made by Aerostar International, Inc., in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The title page of David Koepp's April 14, 2000, draft of the screenplay included the disclaimer: "This material is the exclusive property of Columbia Pictures Entertainment. Unauthorized transfer, photocopying, or reading of this material will result in the growth of large, yellowy pustules on your fingertips and hands which, given your habitual self-abuse (did you think we didn't know?) will soon spread to your genitalia. Also, posting, reading, or discussing this screenplay on the Internet is a sure sign that you have failed to fill your empty life with worthwhile activities of your own and it may be too late for you. Don't blame us, you were warned."
The jumping spider that Peter attempts to take a picture of is an Avondale Spider, the same type used in Arachnophobia (1990).
In 1988, director Albert Pyun was hired to direct a "Spider-Man" movie for Cannon Films. Scott Leva was hired to play Peter Parker/Spider-Man, and filming was set to take place at De Laurentiis Studios in Wilmington, North Carolina. With a $6 million budget, the Brooklyn sets were built for "Spider-Man" on the Wilmington stages and Pyun would also film a sequel to Masters of the Universe (1987) during the same time as "Spider-Man". Pyun had originally planned to film two weeks worth of scenes for "Spider-Man" before Leva's nerdy Peter Parker is bitten by a radioactive spider, then Leva would undergo a supervised eight week workout regimen to build muscle mass while director Pyun would film "Masters of the Universe Part 2", and filming for "Spider-Man" would resume for the scenes after Peter gets his spider powers. However, both projects were scrapped when Cannon Films eventually went out of business.
James Cameron had been wanting to make a Spider-man film in 1994 but the deal fell through.
Peter mentioned to Harry Osborn that he (Peter) has just been fired by Dr. (Curtis) Connors, a character who then appears in the next few movies.
Some of the directors who had been attached to the project over the years include Tobe Hooper, Joseph Zito and Stephen Herek. A longtime contender to direct was Albert Pyun when the film rights were held by Cannon, as he had already made a superhero adaptation with Captain America (1990).
Marion Ross was considered for the role of Aunt Mae.
Sam Raimi wanted Bill Pope to be the film's cinematographer, but Pope was busy working on The Matrix Reloaded (2003) and The Matrix Revolutions (2003). Raimi's second choice was Peter Deming, but he was working on Austin Powers in Goldmember (2002).
Willem Dafoe's own face bears an uncanny resemblance to the original Green Goblin mask from the comics, designed almost 40 years before he was cast in the role.
Cliff Robertson, who plays Uncle Ben, had previously appeared as Shame, a gunfighter villain on the 60s Batman show. This makes him a rare example of someone who has appeared on screen in both Marvel AND DC productions.
Stan Lee: The creator of Spider-Man appears in the scene where the Green Goblin attacks the balcony at the World Unity Festival.
Nicholas Hammond: actor who played Peter Parker in The Amazing Spider-Man (1977) is at the World Unity Festival.
Lucy Lawless: as a punk girl. Sam Raimi executive produced Lawless in Xena: Warrior Princess (1995)).
Sumner Redstone: in a non-speaking role as an Oscorp board member.
Robert Kerman: as the Tugboat Captain.
Bruce Campbell: the wrestling referee who gives Peter the name The Amazing Spider-Man. Campbell makes a cameo appearance in each Sam Raimi Spider-Man movie, but always as a different character.
The film contains multiple allusions to future Spider-Man villains: Doctor Curtis Connors (Lizard), Eddie Brock (Venom), Harry Osborn (Green Goblin No. 2), Mendel Stromm (Robot Master).
The film's climax is based on the infamous "The Amazing Spider-Man" # 121 comic, "The Night Gwen Stacy Died." In that comic, the Goblin captures Stacy and suspends her over a bridge, and Spider-Man attempts to save her, but fails. In near-insane anger and retaliation he beats the Goblin to near-unconsciousness, and when he tries to use his sled to impale the wall-crawler, it backfires and impales him instead. In the film, the main differences are that Mary-Jane is the one held over a bridge, and she survives. The Goblin's death is remarkably faithful to the story. At Osborn's funeral, a gravestone nearby says Stacy.
The World Trade Center Towers can be seen in the background of some scenes and once in the reflection of Spider-Man's eye. In addition, during the ending scene where he is swinging around the American trade building, you can see the towers in the far background slightly blurred. The makers of the film chose not to remove them digitally.
Willem Dafoe was never an intended choice to play the Green Goblin. After the script fell into his possession, he began lobbying for the role and met with Sam Raimi, who had intended to cast Billy Crudup in the role. Sometime later, while filming a movie in Spain, Dafoe was approached and shot some test footage inside the hotel room he was staying. It led to his being cast. Once he received the role, Dafoe asked that he be allowed to perform his own stunts so that the character and movements would feel authentic, or else the audience would notice the difference. He performed about 95% of his own stunts, and unlike many of the stunt crew, learned how to handle the Goblin Glider after just 15 minutes. Having such a great time during filming, he offered to return for Spider-Man 2 (2004) and asked if they could write him in somewhere, his character having died in this movie. Sam Raimi took him up on the offer and both of them set aside a specific day of filming on Spider-Man 2 for Dafoe to shoot Norman Osborn's cameo in other characters' dreams and memories.
When Uncle Ben's killer crashes the car into the gate after Spider-Man leaps off, the police car that pulls into frame on the right side has a very obvious license plate with "1927" being the only markings. This is to honor Stan Lee's great friend, Marvel and DC veteran illustrator John Buscema who was born in Brooklyn, New York on December 11, 1927. He sadly passed away on January 10, 2002 shortly before the film came out.
One of the scenes that Tobey Maguire performed for his screen test was the final one in which Peter Parker rejects Mary Jane.
At the beginning of the movie when we first see Mary Jane on the school bus, she is dressed in the Green Goblin's (from the comic book, anyways) colors. Her top is purple and her coat is green. This outfit is also the uniform of Gwen Stacy from the comics, who was killed by the Green Goblin in a battle not unlike the bridge scene in the movie.
In 1993, James Cameron was hired to rewrite an existing draft for "Spider-Man" for Carolco Pictures. The script was going to feature Liz Allen as Peter Parker's love interest instead of Mary Jane Watson, and the villain was Doctor Otto Octavius/Doctor Octopus. Unlike the comics, Octavius was a professor who would be a mentor to college senior Peter Parker, and Otto called himself Professor Octopus after his four mechanical arms become accidentally fused to his body. During the accident that turns Octavius into Doc Ock, Otto is also bitten on the back of the neck by the same radioactive spider that turns Peter into Spider-Man. To make the film more kid-friendly, the company had Doc Ock constantly use the phrase "Okey! Dokey!" and Ock had an assistant named Weiner that later kills Peter's Uncle Ben Parker instead of a burglar that Spider-Man lets get away. Arnold Schwarzenegger was Cameron's first choice for Doctor Octopus and Edward Furlong was considered for Peter Parker, but Carolco ultimately never made a "Spider-Man" film when it ultimately went out of business.
PG-13 | 2h 1min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi | 3 May 2002 (USA)
When bitten by a genetically modified spider, a nerdy, shy, and awkward high school student gains spider-like abilities that he eventually must use to fight evil as a superhero after tragedy befalls his family.
Director: Sam Raimi
Writers: Stan Lee (Marvel comic book), Steve Ditko (Marvel comic book)
Stars: Tobey Maguire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe