Thomas Haden Church played Sandman in the 2007 feature film Spider-Man 3. In the film, Sandman's origins are similar to the comics except for his connection to Spider-Man's origin. Flint Marko steals to pay for medical treatment for his critically ill daughter, Penny. While on the run from the police after escaping from prison, he accidentally falls into an experimental particle accelerator that molecularly binds him with sand, giving him shapeshifting sand abilities. A major focus of the plot involves Marko's connection to the murder of Ben Parker (Cliff Robertson), Spider-Man's uncle, in the first film. Sandman is later spotted by police officers walking down the streets of Manhattan. Sandman gets on top of a dump truck filled with huge amounts of sand.
At the police station, police captain George Stacy (James Cromwell) discovers evidence Marko is Ben Parker's killer. He tells Peter and Aunt May (Rosemary Harris) the carjacker, Dennis Carradine, whom Peter confronted two years earlier, is Marko's accomplice. A vengeful Spider-Man, wearing the black suit that would eventually become Venom, attacked and seemingly killed Marko but he survived and later joined forces with Venom to eliminate Spider-Man. He is ultimately defeated by Harry Osborn, and upon learning Spider-Man's true identity after witnessing the destruction of Venom, he talks with Peter at the conclusion of the film, revealing he didn't mean to kill Uncle Ben. Flint stated that he just wanted the car from Ben, and as Ben peacefully attempts to talk Flint out of it, Carradine come by, startling Flint, and causing his gun to discharge, killing Ben. This shocks Flint, who remained inert while Carradine drives away in Ben's car before getting in a run with the police. Flint stated this because he wanted Peter to understand and that his love for his daughter Penny is the only thing he has left for himself. Understanding the importance of forgiveness over revenge, Peter forgives him, and Flint, having accepted Peter's forgiveness, peacefully shapeshifts away to his daughter.