Phil Lord and Chris Miller, the writer-director-producers behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and its new sequel, have been praised for their revolutionary style in the animation industry. However, a recent report by Vulture alleges the grueling working conditions faced by the crew during the production of Across the Spider-Verse.
According to anonymous crew members, the $150 million Sony project became a uniquely arduous process, with constant changes and cuts, causing approximately 100 artists to leave the movie before completion. The crew members attribute the franticness to Lord’s management style and his preference for editing fully rendered work instead of conceptualizing in the early planning stages.
The delays reportedly resulted in crew members working over 11 hours a day, seven days a week, for more than a year to catch up. They were pushed back to the drawing board multiple times, leading to demoralization and an overall negative impact on morale. The crew members also express frustration over the lack of commitment to ideas and the constant need for revisions, which resulted in wasted work and increased stress.
Sony executives deny the claims about Lord’s management style, stating that feature animation is an iterative process with many contributors. The producers defend the extensive revisions, insisting that the goal is to make the best movie possible. They acknowledge the major overhauls and the departure of crew members but assert that these changes were necessary to improve the narrative and visuals.
The report highlights the challenges faced by the animation industry and the need for better working conditions and union representation. The Animation Guild (TAG) aims to ensure equitable employment practices in an industry that relies heavily on animation talent. Sony Pictures Animation has recently reached an agreement with TAG, increasing minimum wages for pre-production staff. However, Sony Pictures Imageworks, the independent vendor responsible for physical animation in Across the Spider-Verse, remains a non-union studio.
Despite the difficulties, the crew members still recognize the quality of the final product. The sequel is expected to be released next year, but the crew’s accounts suggest that there may be further delays due to ongoing production issues and last-minute changes.
After almost a month, people are now discovering there are multiple versions of Across The Spider-Verse playing in theaters.
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