The news that Disney and Sony failed to reach an agreement on Spider-Man, and that he’ll no longer appear in MCU movies has gone down like a glass of cold vomit for fans. I can understand their anger, too. Marvel lovers are heavily invested in Tom Holland’s take on Spider-Man and he’s played a key role in MCU events ever since his debut in Captain America: Civil War. The post-credits sequence of Spider-Man: Far From Home teased an exciting new status quo for the character, too, including the return of J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson. Now, it seems that a proper sequel may never happen.
Clearly, Marvel fans are furious. Boycotts of Sony products have been announced, social media is abuzz with anti-Sony posts and there’s even a half-baked plot to storm the studio to rescue Spider-Man. But is any of this justified?
Well, leaving aside the unhealthy desire to violently defend one enormous global corporation over another, most people who’ve looked into the negotiations have concluded that Sony Pictures are in the right here. The previous Marvel/Sony partnership consisted of Marvel Studios being in charge of the character’s creative direction while Sony Pictures financed his solo movies, with Disney getting a 5% cut of the box office. That’s not bad for the Mouse House considering they’re not contributing to the budget and retain the lucrative merchandising rights to the character.
Deadline’s reporting though that Disney are essentially asking for ten times more money than before, altering the deal to make it more of a 50/50 arrangement, with the future plan being Disney and Sony each contributing half of the budget for new films and presumably splitting the profits. Beyond that, Disney was also apparently angling for the same kind of involvement in the Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters movies, including Venom and Morbius – which aren’t even in the MCU.
All this means that Sony would suddenly be making a hell of a lot less money on an intellectual property they own, for no obvious gain to them. So, it’s hardly surprising that they’ve taken their Spider-Man ball and gone home. It’s just not reasonable for them to agree to a deal in these terms as they have a duty to maximize profits for their shareholders.
However, both companies are leaving so much money on the table that I think they’ll be able to work something out. A 50/50 split sounds like a starting position for Disney, so hopefully they’ll see some sense and accept something much more reasonable. But even if Spider-Man never returns to the MCU, it wouldn’t be the end of the world. After all, it’d be fun to see Holland’s Peter Parker squaring off against Tom Hardy’s Venom.
Or, I dunno, Disney could just buy Sony.