Spider-Man is out of the MCU…for now at least.
Sony, which holds the film rights for Marvel Comics’ flagship character, is not too keen on renegotiating its deal with Disney for future films involving the web-slinger. Disney has basically been doing Sony a solid by producing the films under the direction of Marvel Cinematic Universe head honcho Kevin Feige while Disney pocketed 5% of first-dollar gross and merchandising revenues. That’s an arrangement Disney is no longer comfortable with and wants more of a 50/50 financing split and Feige staying on as the consulting producer.
Variety sources say Disney was concerned Feige was being spread too thin as he continues to work on Marvel films and the new Disney+ Marvel series. Understandably, Sony isn’t feeling this new deal especially with Spider-Man: Far From Home becoming the studio’s biggest hit.
This news overshadowed the earlier announcement that Far From Home would have its box office run farewell with four minutes of additional footage over Labor Day weekend.
Sony is conveniently forgetting about the box office failure of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 back in 2014, which paved the way for Spider-Man to enter the MCU in the first place. That Andrew Garfield led film earned $202 million domestically and $708.9 million worldwide.
That was a step down from the $758 million total gross of The Amazing Spider-Man suggesting audiences were losing interest in the Spider-Man brand after the widely panned Spider-Man 3 earned $890 million.
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The question for Sony is will their latest spin on Spider-Man thrive without the larger connection with the MCU? Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark played a crucial role in Homecoming while Samuel L. Jackson’s Nick Fury was prominently featured in Far From Home. Would fans be as excited about a third Spider-Man film with Tom Hardy’s Venom the only possible crossover character?
Sony’s recent track record isn’t great despite the surprising success of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. If anything Sony’s timing couldn’t be worse as Spider-Man is poised to be a bigger deal in the MCU with established characters like Captain America and Iron Man being written out. There’s a void for the face of the MCU and that could easily be Spider-Man (or Black Panther and Captain Marvel). Far From Home was a great film and that’s in no small part due to Feige’s fingerprints all over it.
The MCU trickle down effect on Spider-Man’s box office can’t be underestimated. Not that Spider-Man is in the same boat as the decaying final films of the X-Men franchise with Fox, but teaming Spidey with Morbius and Venom isn’t the same as him standing shoulder to shoulder with Captain America and Iron Man.
And with the X-Men and Fantastic 4 coming to the MCU, Disney is in less a position of need for Spider-Man than ever before. But the possibility of say Johnny Storm aka The Human Torch popping up in a Spider-Man movie could be a lot of fun for longtime Marvel fans.
Sharing custody of Spider-Man would be expensive for Sony, but not keeping that money train rolling in a partnership with Disney seems like a far riskier move.
What do you think? Should Sony suck it up and pay to keep the deal with Disney going or is Disney making too ridiculous a demand?
Photo Credit: Disney and Sony