‘Spider-Man’ movies can still thrive without Disney and Marvel Studios

‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’ Sony
  • A deal between Sony and Disney over Spider-Man’s film appearances has fallen apart, meaning Marvel Studios will longer be involved in future “Spider-Man” movies.
  • Fans freaked out Tuesday when the news broke, but there’s good reason that Sony wouldn’t budge.
  • Spider-Man is its biggest film property and it makes sense that it would not want to compromise its control of the character.
  • The success of “Venom” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” likely gave Sony the confidence it needed to stand its ground.
  • Sony is still hoping for “Spider-Man: Far From Home” star Tom Holland and director Jon Watts to return for two more movies, in which Marvel Studios would not be involved if a deal isn’t made.
  • Marvel Studios has propelled the new Spider-Man movies to global success, but the upside from a story standpoint is that Holland’s Peter Parker will have a chance to definitively step out of Tony Stark’s shadow and grow up.
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Marvel Cinematic Universe fans freaked out on Tuesday after news broke that Sony and Disney’s Spider-Man deal was in danger.

Deadline reported that the two companies were unable to come to an agreement over the character’s on-screen future. Disney wanted a better deal, Sony wouldn’t budge, and now Marvel Studios and president Kevin Feige will not be involved in future “Spider-Man” movies unless something drastically changes.

Sony said it was Disney’s decision in a statement late Tuesday, as Feige’s “many new responsibilities do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own.”

READ MORE: Spider-Man’s movie adventures have been a headache for Sony for over a decade, but the character is too valuable to compromise on

Hashtags like #SaveSpidey and #SaveSpiderManFromSony were trending on Wednesday. The concern from fans was expected.

Sony botched its “Amazing Spider-Man” reboot not that long ago and the character has enjoyed a nice revival since actor Tom Holland’s portrayal debuted in 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War.” Since then, he’s starred in two solo movies – “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home” – that have grossed nearly $US2 billion combined as part of a deal between Sony and Marvel Studios.

But “Spider-Man” movies have been successful outside of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, too.

They were successful long before the MCU existed and Sony’s own movies since the deal was made – “Venom” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” which Marvel was not explicitly involved in – have been hits, too. “Venom” made over $US800 million worldwide and “Into the Spider-Verse” won the Oscar for best animated feature earlier this year.

Spider man far from home sony
Tom Holland as Peter Parker, with Tony Stark’s glasses, in ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home.’ Sony

Deadline reported that Sony is still hoping that Holland and “Far From Home” director Jon Watts return for two more movies. If they do, and a deal with Disney isn’t made between now and then, the movies wouldn’t include any MCU characters.

It’s natural that this could cause some frustration with fans who have come to admire this iteration of Spider-Man, but with the same cast and same director, those movies could maintain a high quality without Marvel Studios’ involvement. Obviously Feige’s touch, and the Marvel Studios brand, was a huge factor in the movies’ popularity. But it wasn’t all Feige. Former Sony executive and longtime “Spider-Man” producer Amy Pascal also produced “Homecoming” and “Far From Home.”

From a story standpoint, it would give Holland’s Peter Parker an opportunity to definitively step out of Tony Stark’s shadow and finally grow up.

READ MORE: Sony blamed Disney for the ‘Spider-Man’ deal falling apart and said it hoped ‘this might change in the future’

The initial deal between Sony and Disney was that Sony retained distribution and creative rights over Spider-Man while the character could appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Marvel received up to 5% of first-dollar gross from the movies and all merchandising revenue. Disney recently asked for a 50/50 cofinancing stake in future movies and that’s when the deal imploded.

Spider-Man is simply too valuable an asset for Sony to compromise on, and it makes sense that the studio would want to maximise its control over its biggest film property.

Sony has owned the film rights to Spider-Man and 900 related characters since 1998 and can keep them as long as it releases a “Spider-Man” movie every five years. The success of “Venom” and “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” clearly gave it extra confidence that it could carry on the Spider-Man movies without Disney and Marvel Studios.

Sony said in its statement that it hoped things could change in the future, implying that there could still be hope for a deal with Disney. But if not, Spider-Man’s future on the big screen isn’t dead. Far from it.