It was a crazy few weeks when we thought Spider-Man was departing the MCU for Sony Pictures’ Spider-verse. Millions of words were written on the matter, tears were shed, voices were raised and emotions were high. And then, just as we were approaching acceptance that Spider-Man wasn’t coming back to the MCU, Disney and Sony announced that they had worked out a deal after all.
I don’t want to get bogged down in the precise details of their disagreement, but the root of it was that in the wake of Spider-Man: Far From Home, Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse‘s success, Sony Pictures had a newfound confidence that they could handle the character themselves. As such, when Disney proposed changing their agreement to a 50/50 profit split from any future movies, they balked. But, as is often the case when hundreds of millions of dollars are to be made, the two companies eventually worked something out. And they’d have worked something out sooner if it weren’t for us meddling journalists!
That’s the message from Disney’s Alan Horn and Sony’s Tom Rothman, who spoke with The Hollywood Reporter about the negotiations.
Rothman described the new deal as:
“…A classic win-win-win. A win for Sony, a win for Disney, a win for the fans. The only thing I would say is that news cycles and the rhythm of negotiations do not necessarily overlap. And this is, in the words of Shakespeare, a consummation devoutly to be wished. We would have gotten there, and the news got ahead of some things.”
Horn concurred. However, I think it’s fairly obvious that both sides capitalized on news reporting and subsequent fan reaction to give them a negotiating edge and put pressure on their opponent. Disney, in particular, would have been able to point to the legions of fans posting pictures of Spidey hugging Tony Stark and vowing they would never watch another Sony Pictures film as long as they lived. So, while it’s all well and good to say that they would have gotten there eventually, what exactly did they think would happen when they repeatedly made very public announcements that the deal was dead?
I guess it’s all water under the bridge now, but I hope one day there’s an insider account of what actually went down during these Spider-Man negotiations.