Hot off the success of THE EQUALIZER 2, screenwriter Richard Wenk is being brought on to write a KRAVEN THE HUNTER movie for Sony Pictures. Back in June 2017, THR reported that Sony was planning to expand the SPIDER-MAN universe (but…no sign of the web crawler himself) with films like SILVER AND BLACK, while “other projects will focus on Kraven the Hunter and Mysterio,” so news of the solo KRAVEN project itself is more than a year old. However, now that Sony is in the process of hiring a writer, it’s a strong sign that the studio is getting serious about expanding the non-Spider-Man Spidey universe and that the KRAVEN movie is heating up.
Also known as Sergei Kravinoff, Kraven the Hunter is one of Spider-Man’s best known and most formidable enemies, as well as the half-brother of the Chameleon. The character has appeared in numerous Spider-Man properties including animated series, video games and of course, the Marvel comics, including the popular story ‘Kraven’s Last Hunt’. Kraven is known for hunting big game, but what is Kraven without his white whale Spider-Man, who he considers his ultimate trophy? That’s what Wenk will be tasked with figuring out, as Spider-Man himself is still tied up solely in the Marvel Cinematic Universe while films like KRAVEN and VENOM exist in their own separate universe with no Marvel Studios oversight. Wenk will also be tasked with introducing Kraven the Hunter to movie audiences, as the character has never appeared on the big screen before.
Quite frankly, the future of KRAVEN and other spinoffs will likely be determined by how VENOM performs at the global box office. One big question that still surrounds VENOM is whether that film will be rated R or PG-13. The latter rating would allow VENOM to dovetail with SPIDER-MAN down the line, while an R-rating would indicate that Sony is willing to chase a different, more adult audience. That gamble paid off for Fox and DEADPOOL, but it might be too risky for Sony, given all that’s at stake. And besides, if Sony was going to go the R-rated route, it probably would’ve announced that intention by now. If Venom is going to be killing and eating people in a violent fashion, it may be tough for Sony to put the character into a more family-friendly SPIDER-MAN movie down the line, as the tone of each film would clash with rather than compliment each other. Either way, if Venom is a success, I’d expect Kraven to chase the same audience, and if VENOM underperforms, I could see Sony going in the opposite direction in terms of what rating future spinoffs would chase.
And speaking of the studio, sources say that Sony executive Palak Patel has been instrumental in exploring new directions to take the Spidey universe under the supervision of Columbia Pictures president Sanford Panitch. Patel isn’t in charge of Sony’s universe of Marvel characters in the way that Walter Hamada is in charge of DC movies at Warner Bros. — for example, Patel isn’t involved in SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE, which was overseen by Kristine Belson at Sony Pictures Animation, who reports directly to Tom Rothman — but as one of Panitch’s direct reports, he is often pulled into development meetings for films based on Marvel characters. So while Patel did work on VENOM, he also worked on SUPERFLY, so Marvel movies are hardly his sole focus at Sony.
Sony is high on Wenk after THE EQUALIZER 2 opened to $36 million, which is nearly $2 million more than the first film. The sequel has grossed $68 million at the domestic box office in less than two weeks of release, while the original took in nearly $200 million worldwide. Wenk’s previous credits include 16 BLOCKS, THE MECHANIC, THE EXPENDABLES 2, JACK REACHER: NEVER GO BACK, and Antoine Fuqua’s remake of THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN.