2009-10-07 - VenomThe “Spider-Man” series has been so successful for Columbia Pictures, that a spin-off with the super villian Venom is taking shape.

According to Variety, Gary Ross — who’s last film was 2003’s “Seabiscuit” — has inked a deal to write and direct the “Venom” film, while he rewrites “Spider-Man 4” for the studio.

Venom is the archenemy of Spider-Man in the Marvel Comics series. In the forthcoming film, he’s said to be transformed into an anti-hero who becomes a defender of the innocent.

While Venom was portrayed by actor Topher Grace in “Spider-Man 3,” he is unlikely to reprise the role, because the spin-off is starting from scratch, said the site.

In the film Eddie Brock (played by Grace) is Peter Parker’s newspaper rival, but somehow is infected by an alien organism that grafted itself to his skin, giving him superpowers and strength superior to Spider-Man’s.

Marvel Entertainment, the company behind most of the comic book blockbusters, was recently acquired by Disney in a $4 billion deal. However, Columbia Pictures holds the rights in perpetuity to not only Spider-Man, but its villians too.

The deal was recently made, so at press time, it’s unknown when we should expect the film to begin production and hit theaters.

Columbia is also said to be developing another installment of the “Ghost Rider”.