Variety has gotten out their crystal ball this week and made some predictions for what’s going to happen in Hollywood in 2019. There are some interesting ones on the list, too, ranging from the likely (Robert Downey Jr. hangs up his Iron Man suit) to the more outlandish (broadcast TV ditches traditional commercials). But there’s one on there that, if it were to happen, would seriously shake up the world of cinema and superhero movies in particular: Apple purchasing Sony Pictures.
Variety claim that Apple’s eager to catch up with Netflix and Amazon’s success in the streaming market, and they think that buying Sony Pictures is the best way for them to get into the industry quickly. They even say that the considerable price of buying the studio would be “a rounding error” for a company worth $1 trillion (I’m not sure that’s how it works guys, but whatever).
This would give Apple control of some juicy IP not controlled by Disney (which will only increase when the Fox merger goes through), including Jumanji, Men in Black, Breaking Bad and, theoretically at least, Spider-Man. Although, some new evidence seems to point to that last one being in question.
A Tweet has revealed that there’s a clause in a contract relating to the Spider-Man IP which says if Sony were to be sold, the rights would revert back to Marvel. However, then there’s the matter of production and distribution rights, which are entirely separate things. We could end up in a situation where the production rights to Spidey end up back at Marvel, but they still have to put out any solo movies under the ‘Apple Movies’ banner.
Basically, nobody knows what the hell would happen right now. It should be said that Apple are so rich and powerful though that if they were so minded, they could probably buy Disney itself (though this would be one of the most complicated business deals of all-time). Even so, they’re still a new force in the world of film and television and if they do end up purchasing Sony, it’ll be fascinating to see where Spider-Man ends up once all is said and done.