"This is everyone? I'll begin so. Now, I know we're all worried about how well Logan is performing. Domestic box office alone is far greater than we predicted."
I hit the clicker in my hand and a graph popped up on screen.
"Remember folks, the y axis is dollars." I emphasised this for the room by gesturing up and down. I really wanted the money part to sink in. Suits like money. "The solution is clear: we need to go darker. Grittier. I'm talking R rated Spider-Man."
"You're talking about—" I cut off the suit before he could finish.
"More blood. More cursing. But really the most important thing is it needs to be depressing. Really fucking depressing. This was the key to Logan's success."
"But what about Deadpool?"
"Deadpool was last year, suit. Keep up. Here's the pitch." I clicked again to show Tobey Maguire crying in a Krispy Kreme. I'd snapped the photo with my telescopic lens earlier that week.
"Peter Parker isn't in high school anymore. He's like forty. He's just lost his job as a photographer at the Daily Bugle. All non-essential in-house staff were let go when the newspaper went online-only."
I switch the slide to Andrew Garfield crying in a Greggs. I paid a British tabloid a small fortune for that photo.
"Aunt May is suffering from dementia. She can't remember that Uncle Ben is dead. Peter can't afford to put her in a nursing home. He spends his days looking after her and his nights practising how to catch a falling Gwen Stacey without killing her. And that's the whole first hour of this thing."
"I'm going to stop you there." This suit couldn't keep his damn mouth shut. "We're not going to make that movie. We're not going to make anything like that movie. What sort of film studio do you think this is? No, we'll do the Deadpool thing."
"Right. Look. I get that. It's not my only idea." I flicked through the rest of the Spider-Man slides, past the selfie Tom Holland sent me of him wearing a towel in a Baskin Robbins. "How about Aquaman, right. His kingdom is destroyed by pollution. He's leading the world's last pod of dolphins to safety."
"Aquaman is property of Warner Bros studios. They're releasing an Aquaman picture next year. Do… do you even know what studio you're talking to?"
I was saved the embarrassment of answering his question when the meeting room doors were busted down by two security guards. "Everyone stand back! You again! Don't move. Put your hands up." I wasn't planning to run. I hadn't finished pitching.
"I've got more ideas. Plenty more. Let's not worry about small issues like intellectual property rights or trespassing. Imagine if the Human Torch had to retire due an inordinate carbon tax."
The guards got a hold of me pretty quickly and dragged me towards the door. "Captain America but in, you know, actual America."
I was out of the room, but the suits were still within earshot for my coup de grâce.
"I have three final words for you gentlemen: Zombie. Martha. Wayne."