File it under "Why Sony? Why?" but the studio behind the 'Spider-Man' franchise is apparently readying a 'Venom' spin-off movie.
Few details are available, although writer Jacob Estes is on board to pen the script for the film. The article indicates that Topher Grace, one of the most watchable elements of 'Spider-Man 3' is not necessarily a lock for the lead in the movie and agents are offering up their clients for the part.
As for the "why" of it, the project is most certainly a way to prolong the aging 'Spider-Man' franchise, whose future is uncertain. Plans call for a 'Spider-Man 4' in 2011, but its uncertain if Sam Raimi or Tobey Maguire will return. With Marvel now producing its own movie, Sony is limited to using Marvel characters that were part and parcel of the Spidey licesnse.
Marvel has actually planned a 'Venom' movie for over ten years. The project had previously been set up at New Line and had a script from David Goyer. At the time, it was completely disconnected from the Spider-Man mythos.