While the Marvel Cinematic Universe seemingly has no shortage of superheroes in its roster, some old deals have kept a few beloved Marvel characters separate from the rest.
While Disney owns Marvel and its myriad characters, prior to Disney’s acquisition, the X-Men (and, by extension, Deadpool) were licensed to 20th Century Fox, while Spider-Man went to Sony. Thanks to unprecedented co-operation between Disney and Sony, Tom Holland’s web-slinger has been able to become part of the MCU, appearing in Disney’s last two “Avengers” movies while Robert Downey Jr.’s Tony Stark made a brief appearance in Sony’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming”.
It was then reported that the cooperation, however, may be at an end — meaning our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man may no longer be part of the MCU after discussions between Sony and Disney have reportedly ended in a standoff.
Sony have since issued a public statement, writing on Twitter:
Both Deadline and The Wrap previously reported that Disney-owned Marvel Studios had “bailed out” of its partnership after an agreement over profits couldn’t be reached as “Spider-Man: Far From Home” became the second Sony movie ever to surpass a billion dollars at the worldwide box office.
According to Deadline, Disney proposed a 50/50 co-financing deal between the two studios — which Sony reportedly turned down flat. Sony countered with a proposal to keep the existing deal in place, in which Marvel receives approximately five per cent of the first dollar gross, which Disney refused (Marvel, Deadline points out, owns the lucrative merchandising rights to Spider-Man).
Meanwhile, two more “Spider-Man” films are already in development with Holland and director John Watts both attached; at this point, however, the films will apparently be moving ahead without the guidance of Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, who shepherded the Marvel films to become arguably the most successful big-screen franchise in Hollywood history.
“Sony so far has decided that as valuable as Feige is, Disney is asking too high a price,” added Deadline.
There’s, understandably, been plenty of chatter about the situation on Twitter, where fans are livid that a dispute over money could scuttle Feige’s involvement in the “Spider-Man” franchise and keep Spidey separate from the MCU — even causing the hashtag #BoycottSonySpiderMan to trend.
A report from i09 indicated that reports of the Disney-Sony dispute might be overblown, tweeting that a Sony rep maintains “this dispute is simply over a producer credit” and that “negotiations are ongoing.”
Variety offered a similar update, reporting that a source claims “a deal might still be reached between Disney and Sony,” adding, “Disney is believed to have expressed concerns that Feige was spread too thin due to other Marvel projects plus original projects for Disney+.”