Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse: Artists expose the film’s harsh working conditions and walkouts

Artists who worked on Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse say roughly 100 creatives left the project due to harsh working conditions.

Spider_Man: Across the Spider-Verse, artist, Sony

Crunch, the compulsory overtime during a project’s development, is an unfortunate evil of the entertainment industry. Harsh working conditions are a surefire way to demoralize creative minds, and in the case of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse, artists who worked on the film are coming forward to expose the stresses of completing Sony‘s animated sequel.

Across the Spider-Verse is one of the most visually compelling animated films ever. It takes an army of uber-talented artists working around the clock to create something as jaw-dropping as Miles Morales’ latest excursion into the unknown, but at what cost? Speaking with Vulture, artists who worked on Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse told the outlet that working conditions on the high-profile project were unsustainable. Sony reportedly pushed artists and production executives to complete the film on schedule. These individuals describe the “uniquely arduous” situation as something that could break most people.


Four artists agreed to speak with Vulture, revealing approximately 100 artists fled the movie before completion. The group says some of the stress stemmed from Phil Lord’s management style – his inability to “conceptualize 3-D animation during the early planning stages” specifically. Lord also preferred to edit fully rendered material, making turnaround times impossible to manage.

The artists say the studio tasked them with making significant changes to the film close to its release, including alterations to completed scenes. When Sony pushed the movie due to “pandemic-related delays,” the reality was those artists were overworked and scrambling to balance new and existing assignments. The artists who spoke to Vulture say, at one point, they were working 11-hour days, seven days a week, for more than a year to keep up with the workload. Some scenes were scrapped entirely, forcing the team to rethink pivotal moments in the film as much as five times before submitting the final version.

Executive vice president and general manager of Sony Pictures Imageworks Michelle Grady denies the claims about Lord’s management style and says that the complaints do not represent everyone who worked on the film.

“It really does happen on every film,” Grady says of the revisions. “Truly, honestly, it can be a little bit frustrating, but we always try to explain that this is the process.”

“One of the things about animation that makes it such a wonderful thing to work on is that you get to keep going until the story is right,” adds Amy Pascal,  the former Sony Pictures Entertainment chairperson. “If the story isn’t right, you have to keep going until it is.” Pascal concludes her thoughts by saying, “I guess, Welcome to making a movie,” a sentiment already making the rounds on social media, framing Pascal as a misguided villain.

Vulture‘s damning report is already casting doubt on the next film in the trilogy, Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse, making its March 29, 2024 release date. The artists say the threequel is still in pre-production, and unless Sony addresses the poor work conditions in full, the film might not arrive on time.

Are you surprised by the artists’ claims? Do you think Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse will swing into theaters without delay? Let us know in the comments section below.

Source: Vulture

About the Author

Born and raised in New York, then immigrated to Canada, Steve Seigh has been a JoBlo.com editor, columnist, and critic since 2012. He started with Ink & Pixel, a column celebrating the magic and evolution of animation, before launching the companion YouTube series Animation Movies Revisited. He's also the host of the Talking Comics Podcast, a personality-driven audio show focusing on comic books, film, music, and more. You'll rarely catch him without headphones on his head and pancakes on his breath.