Why Is Spider-Man Not On Disney Plus?

spider-man

Disney Plus didn’t take long to become a hub for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. A new generation of MCU limited series has arrived on the platform in 2021, side by side with cinematic adventures. If you’re in the mood for a Marvel film, Disney Plus is the place to catch up with Captain America, Black Widow, Iron Man, Hulk, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. But what about everybody’s favorite friendly neighborhood Spider-Man

The web-slinger is present on the streaming service in his MCU debut, Captain America: Civil War, and helps save the universe in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. But if you’re looking for his solo adventures, you won’t find them on Disney Plus. That means Tom Holland’s current take on Peter Parker in Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home are not on the platform as part of the MCU’s lineup, which you can otherwise binge in its entirety. It also means that you won’t find the films of Holland’s spider-powered predecessors, Andrew Garfield and Tobey Maguire.

Now that Spider-Man: No Way Home has raised expectations of a multiversal crossover with multiple Spider-Men alongside their respective on-screen villains, many fans are wondering: why can’t we stream all the films in once place before seeing No Way Home, specifically Disney Plus?

Disney Plus without a Spider-Man

The Amazing spider-Man

Sony Pictures has produced Spider-Man’s solo adventures since they first bought the film rights from Marvel in 1999. Before the comics company launched its MCU and was purchased by Disney, the deal gave Marvel 5% of Spider-Man movie revenue and an equal share of merchandising profits. 

Sony produced five Spidey films in the 12 years between Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man, earning over $3.9 billion at the world box office. The film rights were dependent on them producing a movie every five years, which explains their frequency and the 2021 reboot. But while The Amazing Spider-Man was one of the most technically accomplished Spider-Man films, its box office performance didn’t meet Sony’s expectations. It ended its run in 2014 with almost half the domestic box office of 2002’s Spider-Man

That disappointment came in the year that Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Two hit a new stride with Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Guardians of the Galaxy (with a combined box office haul of $1.48 billion). As the MCU grew, a Spider-Man-shaped hole was increasingly noticeable. It suited both studios and fans to link up their webs. The result was an uneasy alliance between the two, struck in 2015. It was a deceptively simple deal, as no money was exchanged other than a one-off payment from Marvel Studios to Sony Pictures of $175 million in exchange for complete control of merchandising rights. The deal benefited both parties, promoting higher box office numbers across Spider-Man-led films at both studios.

Since 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, Marvel Studios has explored opportunities to integrate MCU characters into Spider-Man films (see Iron Man, Happy Hogan, and Doctor Strange thus far), while Sony Pictures has final creative control and the ability to finance and distribute each Spider-Man movie it produces. Columbia Pictures has officially served as co-producer with Marvel Studios, including on Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.

This mutually beneficial deal instantly assured Spider-Man’s inclusion in the MCU, but it was only as good as the deal. That seemed to break in 2019, earlier than many expected. Fortunately, an immediate backlash brought the studios back to the table and extended the agreement.

It’s the simplicity and effectiveness of this deal, which had seemed too good to be true before it was announced, that makes Spider-Man’s limited presence on Disney Plus a constant surprise. That is, until you factor in that Sony’s film rights include home distribution rights. Movie theaters are one thing, but Spider-Man’s full arrival on Disney Plus would have required a separate deal. 

Where can you watch Sony’s Spider-Man films?

Tobey Maguire Spider-Man

Sony has traditionally partnered with Starz, where you can currently watch the original live-action Spider-Man (2002). Currently, your best bet if you want to catch Sony’s other Spider-Man films is to rent or buy them on Prime Video, Apple TV Plus, Vudu, Google Play, or YouTube. In time for Spidey’s latest outing in movie theaters, Sony is also releasing new collected editions of the Spider-Man trilogy and The Amazing Spider-Man movies in 4K.

However, in 2021, Netflix secured first-look TV streaming rights with Sony. Starting in 2022, all future Sony films, including the Spider-Man series, will premiere on Netflix first. 

Will all the Spider-films ever arrive on Disney Plus?

Spider-Man

Following the announcement of their deal with Netflix, Sony confirmed a deal with Disney to bring new releases and previous films to Hulu and other channels on Disney Plus. 2022 is the magic year, as it’s when new theatrical releases are expected to land on the platform at the start of a four-year window. 

You can expect to find Spider-Man’s complete adventures in the MCU available on the streamer starting next year.

What Spider-Man content can you find on Disney Plus right now?

Disney’s streaming service isn’t a web-free zone. While his recent big-screen solo adventures aren’t available, Spider-Man swings through several MCU films produced by Marvel. Get your Spider-fill on Disney Plus with:

Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Avengers: Endgame (2019)

You can also catch hours of Spidey’s animated adventures on Disney Plus. The streamer has collected classic series, including his 1980s team-up with Iceman and Firestar and his legendary 1990s animated run.

Spider-Man (1981)
Spider-Man and His Amazing Friends (1981)
Spider-Man: The Animated Series (1994)
Spider-Man Unlimited (1999)
Ultimate Spider-Man (2012)
Marvel Ultimate Comics (2016)
Spider-Man (2017)
Spider-Man Shorts (2017)
Spidey and His Amazing Friends (2021)
Meet Spidey and His Amazing Friends Shorts (2021)

Spider-Man’s next big-screen adventure, Spider-Man: No Way Home, arrives in theaters on Dec. 17, 2021.