Yesterday, news broke of a very public spat between Sony and Disney. Caught in the middle of it all like a child watching their parents argue, is the reinvigorated Spider-Man franchise. The Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home films did huge numbers in theaters. Better than any previous Spidey film before them. Sony, recognizing the newly valuable franchise, is now refusing to split revenue equally with Disney for future Spider-Man films, and therein lies the problem. As a result, Spider-Man may never show up in the MCU again.
This is not
fucking ok. At all.
Spider-Man was just gifted access to some of the most important tech in the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe. On top of that, Far From Home ended in such a cliffhangery way that it most certainly constitutes another follow-up film. More importantly than that though, is the impact that Spider-Man could be wildly important to Marvel’s phase four and five films, as the studio begins to build new stars from the ashes of the Iron Man and Captain America franchises. Spider-Man figured to be one of the lead dogs here, but if he’s no longer in the MCU that leaves a giant, gaping hole in both star power and story continuity.
This rift all began with Disney requesting Sony bump their profit-sharing in the Spider-Man films from a meager five percent, up to fifty. Some might see this as a show of force from Disney (which it most certainly is), but Sony has also tremendously benefitted from Marvel’s involvement as well. By utilizing access to Marvel’s extensive character library and putting Spider-Man at the forefront of their three biggest films, Sony’s profits from Spider-Man soared to unprecedented heights.
So where do we go from here? Well, the two sides could try to renegotiate a deal, which would see Disney take a larger than five percent share going forward. This would also most likely reinstate Kevin Feige as the lead producer in Spider-Man films and put Spidey back into his rightful place amongst the MCU. Or, we could see the total nuclear option in which Sony sticks to their guns, they thank Disney for their biggest grossing movie ever, then run the franchise back into the ground. I’m hoping it ends up being the latter, but I’m not very confident in this happening.
Either way. This is a pretty devastating loss for both parties. Can’t we all just get along?