- Sony will be the only studio besides Disney to own film rights to Marvel characters after the Disney-Fox merger closes.
- Sony Pictures Television chairman Mike Hopkins told Variety this week that Sony has “the next seven or eight years laid out” for its Marvel universe.
- The franchise found new life last year with the success of “Venom,” which grossed $US855 million worldwide.
Come next week, only two movie studios will own film rights to Marvel Comics characters.
Disney, which owns Marvel, is absorbing Fox in a merger expected to be finalised on March 20, at which point it will own the rights to X-Men, Deadpool, and the Fantastic Four. And then there’s Sony, which owns the film rights to approximately 900 Marvel characters related to everyone’s favourite web-slinging superhero, Spider-Man.
Sony’s Spider-Man franchise is its most lucrative. Sam Raimi’s original trilogy alone made $US2.5 billion worldwide, before being adjusted for inflation. But a few years ago, its Marvel universe was on life support.
2014’s “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” was expected to launch a connected universe of movies similar to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Instead, it was a critical and box-office disappointment. The following year, Sony struck a deal with Marvel Studios that allowed Marvel to include Spider-Man in the MCU while Sony retained creative control and distribution rights.
But “Venom,” surprisingly, breathed new life into what the studio calls the Sony Universe of Marvel Characters.
“Venom” was one of the highest-grossing movies of 2018, raking in $US855 million worldwide despite poor reviews from film critics. Now, Sony is going full speed ahead with the “SUMC.” Sony Pictures Television chairman Mike Hopkins told Variety this week that Sony has “the next seven or eight years laid out” for the franchise, and that could include TV shows, as well.
What could the next seven or eight years look like for Sony’s Marvel movies? The studio has several projects in development, and more that were thought dead that could be resurrected.
Below are all of Sony’s Marvel movies currently in the works:
Variety reported in January that Sony is developing a sequel to its massively successful “Venom” with Kelly Marcel, a writer on the first movie, set to write the script. After “Venom” made $US855 million, a sequel was inevitable. The movie will likely be released in October 2020, as Sony has two 2020 release dates set for Marvel movies, the other being “Morbius” in July.
“Morbius,” based on the vampire Spider-Man villain of the same name, is set for a July 2020 release. Jared Leto will play the title character, and posted the first image from the set on his Instagram last week. It’s directed by Daniel Espinosa, director of “Safe House” and “Life.”
“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” sequel and spin-off
“Into the Spider-Verse”grossed $US368 million worldwide and won this year’s best animated feature Oscar, beating out Disney’s “Incredibles 2” and “Ralph Breaks the Internet.” So of course there will be more. The Hollywood Reporter reported in November that Sony is developing not only a sequel to the movie, but an all-female spin-off, too.
“Kraven the Hunter”
“The Equaliser 2” writer Richard Wenk is writing the script for a Kraven the Hunter movie. Kraven is another popular villain to Spider-Man, who Wenk has teased that he wants to include in the movie.
It remains to be seen how Sony would include the actual web-slinger in its Marvel universe. Would Tom Holland reprise his role from the MCU, or would an entirely new actor be hired?
“Black Cat” and “Silver Sable”
Sony was originally developing “Silver and Black,” which would star both the mercenary Silver Sable, and the burglar and frequent Spider-Man love interest, Black Cat. But that plan has been scrapped in favour of separate solo movies for the characters, with “Black Cat” likely coming first.
“We believe Black Cat is enough of her own character with a great backstory and a canon of material to draw from to justify her own film,” Columbia Pictures president Sanford Panitch told Variety last year.
“Silk,” “Jackpot,” and “Nightwatch”
Sony is developing movies based on lesser-known Marvel characters Silk, Jackpot, and Nightwatch, and was looking for writers last summer, according to Variety.
Introduced in 2014, Korean-American superhero Silk is relatively new to Marvel Comics. She has a similar origin story and powers as Spider-Man, and also gained her abilities through a radioactive spider bite.
Jackpot first appeared in 2007. The first version of the character was a government-registered superhero as part of the “Initiative” program following Marvel Comics’ “Civil War” mini-series.
Nightwatch first appeared in 1993, but his origin has been retold throughout his comics history. When first introduced, Kevin Trench finds a dead version of himself from the future, and takes up the costumed identity of his future self.
Drew Goddard, director of “The Cabin in the Woods,” was attached to direct a “Sinister Six” movie that “Amazing Spider-Man 2” attempted to establish. In the comics, the Sinister Six is a team of some of Spider-Man’s deadliest foes. The movie has been in limbo, but Spider-Man franchise producer Amy Pascal still has hope.
“I’m just waiting for Drew to be ready to direct it,” Pascal told Vanity Fair in December. “I would do anything with Drew Goddard. I’m just waiting for him to tell me he wants to.”
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