For some time now, people have used the Spider-Verse films as a showcase of what happens if you respect animators and those working don’t the project. It has commonly been used as a point of comparison between how major studios utilize their VFX houses for live-action adaptations. Yet, it seems that there was a lot more happening behind the scenes than one might’ve assumed initially.
Supposedly, while Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse cost only $150M to produce, it seems like things were quite messy and costly in the long run. Multiple crew members, who range from artists to production executives, have come out to share what has happened across the many years working on the film in a new article by Vulture. And, it seems that it wasn’t pretty.
Around 100 artists have supposedly had to “flee the movie” before it was finished, as they share that the film sprinted in the last three years. One of the reasons is seemingly due to one of its producers, Phil Lord of LEGO Movies fame, having a hard time conceptualizing 3-D animation and seemingly prefers to edit with fully rendered work. This means, they finished an entire project and then end up having to scrap big chunks of it due to this editing style. Usually, these kinds of stages happen early on in production, but it seems they pretty much had to change elements that were already finished.
Subsequently, their backlog started to pile on as time went by. It’s no wonder the film was postponed by more than a year from its initial April 2022 release. At the time, it was “pandemic-related delays” but it seems there’s more to that after all. Seems that Phil Lord’s partner, Christopher Miller was surprisingly absent throughout most of the production. Lord seemingly overshadowed even the trio of directors involved with the project.
Of course, Sony executives have disputed the claim with producer Amy Pascal pointing out that “over a thousand” were involved and losing 100 isn’t too surprising. Though she did confirm that the project went through various major overhauls when it came to its visuals and narrative. Going as far as executive Vice President of Sony Pictures Imageworks, Michelle Grady, stating “It really does happen on every film,” which casts a darker shadow over their other work especially with Pascal’s stating: “Welcome to making a movie.”
Though, it should be pointed out that one stated it was a harsh experience but one that is “extraordinarily rewarding” it’s still not a good sign that what VFX and gaming industries are going through also affects animation. We’ll have to see if the WGA strike might be a big milestone to push for better experiences of employees in these creative environments but it also is a sign not to point the finger at a single scapegoat and take a look at the bigger picture.