It’s official: Sony Pictures and Disney-owned Marvel Studios have struck a deal that will keep the adventures of Spider-Man within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
This summer, fans of the MCU were shattered by news that Sony (which owns the rights to Spidey) and Disney were unable to come to terms over licensing the character, with Disney proposing a 50/50 co-financing deal that Sony reportedly turned down, countering with a proposal to keep the existing deal (which pays Marvel approximately five per cent of the first dollar gross), which Disney refused.
On Friday, however, the two companies issued an announcement to declare that a deal is now in place. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will produce the third film in the “Spider-Man: Homecoming” series, with star Tom Holland on-board to reprise the role of the web-slinging teenager.
“I am thrilled that Spidey’s journey in the MCU will continue, and I and all of us at Marvel Studios are very excited that we get to keep working on it,” Feige said in a statement, as reported by Variety. “Spider-Man is a powerful icon and hero whose story crosses all ages and audiences around the globe. He also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold.”
“We have had a great collaboration over the last four years,” added Robert Lawson, chief communications officer for Sony Pictures Entertainment, “and our mutual desire to continue was equal to that of the many fans. We are delighted to be moving forward together.”
Holland reportedly played a significant role in making the new deal happen. The young actor leveraged his popularity and reached out to Disney CEO Bob Iger and Sony film chairman Tom Rothman, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Holland urged the two parties to reach a resolution, citing major fan backlash to the split.
Holland is said to have made multiple appeals to Iger and Rothman. It helped that he was on the set of Sony’s “Uncharted” production, giving him easier access to the studio.
According to Variety, the new deal was signed late Thursday night, and will reportedly see Marvel and Disney each receiving approximately 25 per cent of the profits, with Disney to retain its merchandising rights to the Stan Lee-created character. As part of the arrangement, Spider-Man will also appear in one future Marvel Studios film.
“This is terrific,” said “Spider-Man: Far From Home” producer Amy Pascal. “Peter Parker’s story took a dramatic turn in ‘Far From Home’ and I could not be happier we will all be working together as we see where his journey goes.”
Meanwhile, Deadline is reporting that Jon Watts, who directed “Homecoming” and “Far From Home”, is in talks to direct his third “Spider-Man” feature, with the deal said to be near completion.
“Essentially, Sony and Disney/Marvel sought to hammer out their co-financing agreement on the third Spidey pic first, before turning their attention to re-upping Watts,” reports Deadline.
Following the announcement, Holland shared his joy by posting a NSFW clip from “The Wolf of Wall Street” on Instagram that perfectly sums up his feelings about the deal:
Fans were just as excited as Holland, judging by the reaction on Twitter:
The next “Spider-Man” film is scheduled for release on July 16, 2021.