June 29, 2019




            The comic book movie revolution from campy novelty to summer blockbuster may have quietly begun four years prior with Blade and later X-Men, but with 2002’s Spider-Man it was in full (pardon the pun) swing.  Written by David Koepp and directed by Sam Raimi, Spider-Man presented a slightly modified origin for the titular character (Tobey Maguire) and his arch-nemesis, the Green Goblin (Willem Dafoe), as fate and circumstances brought the two to a head in a climactic battle. Released by Sony Pictures on May 3, 2002, it became an instant hit. It was the first film to pass $100 million in its opening weekend and the fastest to surpass that mark. By the end of its run, it had grossed $821.7 million.

The back and side of the Spider-Man cereal box.

            That September, Kellogg’s announced its partnership with Marvel Comics and Sony Pictures to release Spidey-themed food items, including a cereal (which they mistakenly touted as the first, ignoring Ralston’s 1994 offering). The limited-edition Spider-Man cereal featured “web”-shaped cereal pieces with artificial berry flavoring. While some of the webs were naturally colored, others alternated between red and blue coloring. Adorning the boxes was a foil-stamped logo and eyes in Spidey’s mask on the front, a story on the back with some stock drawings of Spidey in various poses, and a trivia game related to the story on the side panel. Later, when the film was released onto home video, the boxes came with a small blurb advertising it and a picture of the DVD set.

            As part of their promotional campaign, other cereals in the Kellogg’s line came with premiums related to the film. Amongst them were glow-in-the-dark stickers, temporary tattoos, and a web-shooter water squirter. They also teamed-up with America’s Dairy Farmers to offer a send-away promotion for a free Spidey CD-ROM game (which was essentially the 2000 Spider-Man video game with the character model altered to resemble the film’s suit and other minor tweaks).

            After such a successful film, there was no doubt that a sequel was in order. Spider-Man 2, written by Alvin Sargent, introduced Doctor Octopus (Alfred Molina); a scientist who became bonded to four-mechanical arms he invented to aid in his scientific experiments and became mad with a desire to see his experiment through at the risk of the city. Released on June 30, 2004, the film was as well-received as the first and shattered its opening day record. However, it ended up grossing about $40 million less with a total of $783.8 million.

The back of the Spider-Man 2 box.

Kellogg’s was once again on board and re-released their Spider-Man cereal. The cereal was essentially the same, except it came in a new yellow orange box with Spidey in a new pose, and only on the back was the Spider-Man 2 title present. For a time, the foil-stamped logo and eyes also made a return before being replaced with standard art later in its run (excluding the international box, which had no foil and came with a blue background). The back of the box this time was adorned with several Spidey-themed games, including a trivia game, crossword puzzle, a maze, a match game, a hidden item search, and a word scramble. This time, tie-in premiums included web-shooter-like laser pointers that projected one of four different designs.

The Raimi film series would gain one more less-welcomed entry in Spider-Man 3, but it was General Mills who made a cereal for that one. Ultimately, Marvel and Sony decided to scrap Raimi’s proposed Spider-Man 4 in favor of rebooting the franchise with a new direction and a new cast. Written by James Vanderbilt and directed by Marc Webb, The Amazing Spider-Man took Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield) back to high school as he explored a mystery involving his parents, which took him to Oscorp where, like in the original films, he was bitten by a genetically modified spider and gained his powers. Meanwhile, Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans) had transformed himself into the monstrous Lizard in an attempt to stop his former boss (Irrfan Khan) from using ins imperfect serum on unknowing test subjects. Ultimately, that led to his wanting to transform all of New York into lizard people like him and forcing Spidey to stop him.

The Amazing Spider-Man cereal back.

The film was released on July 3, 2012 to generally favorable reviews. Like the Raimi series, it managed to pull in a box office of $757.9 million; becoming the 7th-highest grossing film of the year. As part of the film’s promotion, Kellogg’s also rebooted their Spider-Man cereal as The Amazing Spider-Man cereal. This time, the web pieces were all colored red and two-toned green marshmallows were added to represent the Lizard’s face. The back of the box featured a word, trivia and maze game.

No comments: