It used to be that if a studio's tentpole movie ended being a, well, tent that propped up its business, the studio would eventually turn it into a trilogy. Once that trilogy was over, however, then it reassesses the direction of the franchise. That's exactly what Sony did with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man trilogy, but now it is doing away with that whole song and dance. The powers that be just pegged down release dates for The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4, all before ASM2 has even finished filming.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will hit theaters on May 2, 2014.
The Amazing Spider-Man 3 will hit theaters on June 10, 2016.
The Amazing Spider-Man 4 will hit theaters on May 4, 2018.
That's all the studio has pegged down, though. You can bet that Andrew Garfield's contract is open ended enough to keep him on board throughout, but it's unlikely that the rest of the creative team behind it are already locked down for two movies beyond what they're currently filming. This announcement is a business move, first and foremost. Disney already has the next half decade's worth of Marvel movies mapped out. Warner Bros. is already talking about fast-tracking Man of Steel 2, with a Justice League movie always lurking in the shadows. This is just Sony's way of saying, "Look, we make superhero movies, too!"
So, what say you? Do you want to see three more movies with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker? Or would you rather Sony wait and see if its Spider-Man reboot earns four films, creatively and commercially, before it gives 'em the green light?
(Note: The poster to the right was made by a fan for Sam Raimi's fourth film that never happened.)