Spider-Man may have spun his last web within the Marvel Cinematic Universe after a new deal regarding the web-slinger’s film rights could not be reached by Disney and Sony.
The two companies met last Tuesday, August 20, to discuss a new contract regarding Spider-Man’s continued use in future movies produced by Marvel Studios. The Los Angeles Times reported that Disney, the parent company of Marvel Studios, requested 50% of all box-office revenue from future “Spider-Man” movies. The original deal only gave Disney 5% of the earnings. Sony did not agree to the terms, and as a result, they pulled out of the deal.
This outcome sparked outrage amongst the Spider-Man fanbase. Brandon Rice, a long-time fan of the character, is especially distraught.
“I’m not only angry, but I’m extremely disappointed. There was so much potential for Spider-Man inside the MCU, but now without him, it will not thrive as much as it has,” Rice stated.
Another fan, Brady Pierce, was also shook by the news.
“At first, I thought it was a joke,” Pierce added, “Once I realized it was real, I was completely shocked. The character is in such an interesting spot after the ending of Far From Home, so it is incredibly unfortunate that we won’t see where he would have gone for the foreseeable future.”
Both Rice and Pierce stated that Disney is primarily to blame for the deal going under.
“Sony made the decision, but I blame Disney for pushing them to that point. I really respect Sony for standing up to Disney and not giving in to their demands. I just wish Spider-Man wasn’t caught in the middle,” Pierce said.
Rice explained his reasoning for blaming Disney.
“Disney should not have asked for so much, seeing as they’re already very wealthy. By overshooting their end, they may have cost not only themselves, but also their fans of something that could have been very successful,” Rice added, “If they truly do lose Spider-Man from the MCU, they lose not only the largest art of their future, but a lot of their past as well.”
Even through their disappointment, however, both Rice and Pierce believe there may still be hope.
Rice said, “I do believe there is still hope. As I’ve stated, he is a huge piece of the MCU and will be needed to continue the path that it’s on. I believe if Disney lowers their greed, Sony would be willing to work out another deal.”
Pierce added to this sentiment stating, “The power of public opinion is very strong, and if people continue to make as much clamor as they are now, one of the studios will eventually cave and a deal can hopefully be made.”
Reported by The Los Angeles Times, the original deal between Disney and Sony was struck in 2015. It allowed Marvel Studios to produce “Spider-Man” movies while Sony kept 95% of the box-office revenue. In exchange, Disney would gain the rights to use Spider-Man in other Marvel movies beginning with “Captain America: Civil War.” Disney also retained all profit from the merchandise promoting “Spider-Man” movies.
Dr. Francis Schortgen is a professor at The University of Mount Union who teaches a class on market and business analysis. Upon hearing the news of Disney and Sony’s inability to reach a deal regarding Spider-Man, he approached the situation from a business perspective. He also focused his stance on the merchandising element of the original deal.
“50/50, it sounds like it’s fair, but Sony should have come back and said, ‘50/50, well only if we get 50/50 from the merchandising part as well.’ So, I think they might have been a little bit too greedy, maybe, but then, you can only decide that if you know about the profit on both sides,” said Schortgen.
Schortgen also posed an alternative route Disney could take instead of making a new deal with Sony.
“The Spider-Man rights, well they’re gone then. But are there some other rights that are out there for other characters that they could cash in on?”
Due to the recent acquisition of Fox by Disney, it is possible that instead of continuing to pursue the movie rights to Spider-Man, they may focus their attention to the Marvel characters gained in that deal. Those include the X-Men, Fantastic Four and Deadpool.
Though all of these characters belong to Marvel Comics, their film rights were sold to various movie studios in the late 90s when the company faced financial turmoil. Spider-Man, in particular, was sold to Sony in 1999. Marvel Comics was eventually purchased by Disney in 2009.
With rumors beginning to circulate around various social media platforms that Disney and Sony may be in talks about a new offer, only time will tell what the future holds for our friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.