Confident about the popularity of their super-hero franchise, Sony Pictures on Friday said a sequel to "The Amazing Spider-Man" will kick off the 2014 summer movie season.

Andrew Garfield portrays the crime-fighting webslinger in "The Amazing Spider-Man," which is scheduled to hit theaters in July 2012, and he will be back wearing the spider suit for "The Amazing Spider-Man 2," now set for release on May 2, 2014.

It's rare that a studio announces a release date on a sequel so far in advance of the first movie's debut. They typically prefer to wait and judge the success of the movie.

"I think it speaks volumes about our confidence in what we are seeing on the new film and our desire to move quickly on the next installment," said a studio spokesman.

At last month's giant Comic-Con pop culture showcase in San Diego, Garfield and others involved in the movie put in an appearance to answer questions for enthusiastic fans.