Spider-Man caught in web between Sony and Disney
Courtesy of Collider
Spider-Man is in a unique position in Hollywood. As a character, he has had four different actors, writers, directors and distinct styles depict him since the turn of the century – and that’s just for movie versions of Peter Parker. Add the other characters from “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” into the equation and we have seen more versions of Spider-Man than any other hero.
Until recently, Spider-Man was shared by three studios, all with different levels of control over the character. Sony had acquired the rights to Spider-Man for $10 million from a near-broke Marvel before they began making movies of their own in the mid-2000s. Meanwhile, Fox had acquired the Fantastic Four and the X-Men. When Marvel Studios began the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with Iron Man, it created a distinction between Marvel movies, a general term for movies that use Marvel characters, and Marvel Studios movies, which are movies made by Marvel Studios that existed within the MCU.
This wasn’t too complicated back when Marvel Studios stuck to stories that stayed far away from properties they didn’t own, while Fox made movies that felt different by sticking with mutants and a few mediocre “Fantastic Four” movies and all the while, Sony focused on “The Amazing Spider-Man,” played by Andrew Garfield.
After Disney purchased Marvel Studios in 2009, the MCU had a lot more industry power behind it, and after a few years, Disney and Sony struck a deal together that would give Disney the rights to put a new version of Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, into the MCU. This deal would give Sony the bulk of the box office money while Disney got merchandising.
The MCU “Spider-Man” movies are two of the three highest-grossing “Spider-Man” movies of all time, with Sam Raimi’s “Spider-Man 3” coming in about $10 million higher than “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and $100 million less than “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” and Sony recently found success with “Venom,” a movie that’s surpassed both of the Andrew Garfield “Spider-Man” movies at the box office. When negotiations came back up for the MCU deal, things became more complicated.
Sony wanted control of their beloved character, stating on Twitter that they felt like Disney was hurting the series by taking Kevin Feige, the man that started the MCU, out of the position of lead producer for future Spider-Man movies in the MCU. Disney wanted more of the box office winnings that Spidey was bringing in – the Hollywood Reporter estimating between 30 and 50%.
Some fans are claiming that Sony was wrong not to accept what Disney was doing with the franchise, claiming that Disney does all the hard work on the franchise while Sony gets the money, while others criticized Disney for highballing their demand of the box office winnings in a way they knew Sony couldn’t accept. Others are simply happy that Sony is standing up to Disney, who, after buying Fox, holds a massive portion of Hollywood in their control, and now controls even more Marvel properties by acquiring The Fantastic Four and The X-Men (both of which were announced as eventual members of the MCU at the most recent Comic-Con). Some are just upset because a leak had shown that Disney had plans to make “Secret Wars,” an incredibly popular comic arc, into a movie in the future with Spider-Man as the lead.
Sony has no plans to take Tom Holland out of the role of Spider-Man, only out of the MCU, and is moving forward with plans to make a sequel to “Venom,” which many fans expect to feature the wall-crawler. Holland has stated, “All I know is that I’m going to continue playing Spider-Man and having the time of my life.”