I’ll give you a moment to stretch your hand muscles, because you’re going to want to facepalm. A lot.
There. You ready? In a befuddling turn of events—after grossing a collective $2 billion through their collaboration—Sony has decided to break off their partnership with Marvel Studios and Disney in producing new Spider-Man films. The release of Spider-Man: Far From Home saw the studios make good on their initial two-movie deal, where in exchange for the box office revenue, Sony allowed Marvel Studios to produce two Spider-Man films and use the character in their own films. But as of today, Sony and Disney have not been able to negotiate a renewal, so the decision has been made that Tom Holland’s Peter Parker and his supporting cast will no longer make appearances in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, nor will MCU characters appear in new Spidey films.
The failure of the negotiations essentially comes down to Disney asking for an increased cut of the box office revenue (a jump from 5% to 50%) which Sony thought was way too much. But before we beat on Sony like usual, we should also take note that Disney gets the revenue to all Spider-Man merchandise. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that Disney is being kind of greedy. After grossing $8 billion this year alone, Disney probably thought they could make a power move, but Sony didn’t want to budge.
This does leave the Spider-Man franchise in dire straits, though. Tom Holland’s version of the character has been so thoroughly enmeshed in the Marvel Cinematic Universe that it’s hard to imagine a Spider-Man Homecoming 3 that won’t mention Tony Stark or S.H.I.E.L.D. in some capacity. Both Holland and director Jon Watts are still signed for a couple more films, but what that story might entail (that won’t feel like a reboot) remains a complete mystery.
Sony chairman Tom Rothman seems to see this as an opportunity to get their long-gestating Spider-Man Cinematic Universe off the ground, describing “the possibility of a wider involvement in the Sony-controlled Spider-man universe, which contains 900 characters.” I don’t really see what he means besides possibly restarting that Sinister Six project or, god forbid, Venom vs. Spider-Man.
For Marvel and Spider-Man fans both, this should feel like a real gut-kicker piece of news, but hey, that’s Hollywood. As usual, please go off in the comments.