'Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse' Director Only Came on After Sony Lost 'Playmobil'

Animation veteran Bob Persichetti, one of three directors on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, says he boarded the project after an animated Playmobil movie "fell apart" at Sony.

"I'll give you a tiny quick backstory. I pitched Playmobil here, with the Frenchies that had done [ON Animation Studios'] The Little Prince," Persichetti told Cartoon Brew.

"Wrote a treatment for that, wrote a script for it. Pitched it here. Sony was trying to buy it. That deal fell apart with the French company, but I wasn't exclusive to those guys or anything. I was just attached to that specific project."

Persichetti confirmed Playmobil "was happening" at Sony, but when making a deal, "it all sort of fell to pieces."

"And it was at the tail of that that they said, 'What do you think about Spider-Man?' And I was like, 'I haven't really been thinking about Spider-Man.' And they told me [producers] Phil [Lord] and Chris [Miller] had written a treatment and we'd love for you to read it. That was my introduction to those guys because I've never worked with them," Persichetti explained.

"So I came on in the beginning of December in 2015. And we had no script yet. It was early. I think we had a loose first act that Phil had been pecking away on, and then over the next six months, we had a full draft and we were boarding simultaneously and getting stuff up on reels."

That project, inspired by the famed German-made toyline, would have served a Persichetti's directorial debut and cost a reported $75 million.

Playmobil: Robbers, Thieves & Rebels was planned to be the first entry in a trilogy, and was said to be in the works before Warner Animation Group's The LEGO Movie — directed by Lord and Miller — proved a mega-hit at the box office, earning $469 million worldwide. The project was eventually made and will star Anya Taylor-Joy (New Mutants) and Daniel Radcliffe (Harry Potter).

After boarding Spider-Man, Persichetti then tapped Peter Ramsey (director, DreamWorks Animation's Rise of the Guardians) — then developing a project under longtime Spider-Man producer Avi Arad — and Rodney Rothman (screenwriter on the Lord and Miller-directed 22 Jump Street), the latter initially filling in after Spider-Verse co-writer Lord went to serve as director on Disney-Lucasfilm's Solo: A Star Wars Story.

"Luckily, Peter and I have been friends for so long, that was a no-brainer," Persichetti said of working as one of three directors. "Rodney and I became friends on this project and we'll be friends afterward."


Spider-Verse, released Dec. 14, has since webbed up more than $234 million worldwide and is expected to launch a sequel and a female-centric spinoff.

ON Animation Studios' Playmobil: The Movie — centered around a live-action girl and her younger brother being whisked away into the "magical, animated universe of Playmobil" — releases internationally this August.