Back in 2018, Sony wowed audiences around the world with the groundbreaking animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. From producers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Spider-Verse flipped the script on what an animated comic book project could look like, and it took home the Oscar for Best Animated Feature as a reward. Spider-Verse will likely be remembered as one of the best animated movies of the decade, and the producers credit late comedy legend Ivan Reitman for some of its success.
Reitman, who passed away earlier this year, directed iconic comedy films like Ghostbusters, Stripes, and Meatballs. He was a major influence on Lord and Miller when they were coming up, and they had the chance to show him an early cut of Spider-Verse while it was in production. According to a tribute from the filmmaking duo that they recently shared with Empire, Reitman told them that half of the movie was the best movie he'd ever seen, but the other half was "terrible."
"We laughed super-hard. He wasn't laughing," Lord and Miller wrote. "We had just screened Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse for one of our movie heroes, Ivan Reitman. And he was about to spend a week helping us make our movie better, for no reason other than he thought it could be."
Reitman gave the producers notes and they went on to address the issues that the legend presented. According to Lord and Miller, the notes helped significantly, and the movie continued to get better. When Reitman saw the final product, he had a much different reaction.
"We did the notes. And lots of other people's too," explained. "And lo, the movie got better. We showed the next cut to some friends, and Ivan came. Halfway through, we looked over to see what Ivan was doing, but we didn't have to. 'Cause we could hear it. We elbowed each other."
"Ivan Reitman was laughing."
Reitman's notes likely changed the course of not only the careers of Lord and Miller, but comic book animated adaptions altogether. The Mitchells vs. The Machines, another Lord and Miller production that is up for this year's Best Animated Feature Oscar, used styles and ideas similar to those in Spider-Verse. Of course, there are also two Spider-Verse sequels on the way.