Sony vs. Disney: Deal or No Deal?




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*“Far From Home” Spoilers ahead*

Over the course of the past couple of weeks, Sony and Disney have been feuding over their negotiation regarding the Spider-man franchise. Sony, an entertainment company, has owned the film rights to many Marvel characters including Spider-man since 1998. The company will not lose the rights to Spider-man as long as they put out a new movie featuring the character every five years and nine months. 

During 2002 to 2010, Sony’s Tobey Maguire phase of Spider-man films brought in around $2.5 billion internationally at box office. After Director Sam Raimi’s success with his three Spider-Man films,” Director Marc Webb began the reboot of the franchise with Andrew Garfield’s era of Spider-man films in 2010. By 2014, “The Amazing Spider-man 2” did not gross enough profit for Sony to continue with their potential Sinister Six Spider-Man series. 

Several months after the failure of “The Amazing Spider-man 2” release, Sony was rumored to have made negotiations with Marvel Studios over Spider-man’s appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). These rumors were confirmed to be true by both corporations in 2015 and Spider-man shortly appeared in “Avengers: Civil War” in 2016.

What did this mean for future Spider-man films?

According to “Variety,” when Disney and Sony initially made their negotiation in Feb. 2015, their deal stated that “Marvel Studios won’t pay Sony Pictures for the rights to put Spider-Man [in the “Avengers” Franchise]… Marvel won’t receive a cut of the box office for any of Sony’s films that feature Spider-Man” and “Sony won’t receive a percentage of the revenue Disney makes from Marvel’s films (“Civil War” and “Infinity War”) that have Spider-Man, either.” Surface level, the deal allowed Marvel and Disney to use the character for free. Once Marvel began to make standalone Spider-man films, though, Disney was reported to earn 5% of the solo films they produced (“Homecoming” and “Far From Home”). 

However, the agreement was made before Sony released their hit box office film “Venom” and their Academy Award Winning film “Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse” in 2018. Although Sony has definitely made a come back in terms of the film industry, the MCU has definitely been at their peak within the past couple of years due to their success with “Spider-man: Homecoming,” “Far From Home,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Endgame.” 

From 2017 to 2019, Disney accumulated $1 billion dollars from their solo Spider-man films alone while Sony finally came up with a successful Spider-Man narrative with “Spider-verse” and “Venom.” The achievements of the two companies led to a recent renegotiation that has disturbed Marvel fans heavily. 

In late August, Disney and Sony announced that Spider-man will no longer be apart of the MCU due to their failure to come up with a new deal. 

There are many reported compromises from both ends, but none have been confirmed to be true. News sources like “The Hollywood Reporter (THR)” and “Deadline” say that Disney asked Sony for 25% of the profits on any future Spider-Man movie Marvel Studios worked on, not the 50/50 split as initially stated. A few days later, “Deadline” reported that the initial offer from Disney was asking for at least 30% of the profit, but these claims were countered once again by a statement from “THR” saying that there was “a common ground at a 25/75 split.” These reports looked bad on Sony’s end, but “Deadline” also updated by saying that “Sony insiders countered that [Executive Thomas Rothman] did offer compromises, but Disney declined.”

All in all, there have been no clear statements from Disney or Sony over what exactly was suggested during the meeting, so no one knows why the negotiation actually fell through. Nevertheless, Marvel fans and film analysts have been in chaos over the collapse of the deal between the two corporations. 

Although Marvel has set up their fourth phase of Marvel Movies, which does not include a solo Spider-man film, analysts like Northlake Capital Management’s Steven Birenberg suggest that the cliffhanger in “Far From Home” that ended phase three has left “some uncertainty as to the success of future Marvel films.” If Marvel’s Spider-man narrative cannot be involved in future films, they will be unable to resolve the cliffhanger and unanswered plot points in “Far From Home” that set up phase four. 

The end credits scenes in “Far From Home” reveals that Spider-man’s identity has been exposed and Mysterio has made him out to be a villain as well as the fact that Nick Fury and Maria Hill have been shape-shifting Skrull Aliens from “Captain Marvel” throughout the entire movie. Spider-man also blatantly asks for help from characters like Captain Marvel, Doctor Strange and Thor during the film. With these details, Marvel hints that the character of Spider-man and the end of “Far From Home” will be heavily connected to the upcoming films. 

To sum it up, Marvel and Director Kevin Feige’s plans for “Guardians of the Galaxy,” “Thor,” “Black Panther,” “Captain Marvel,” “Doctor Strange” and “The Eternals” might be in shambles. Since Marvel hinted in “Far From Home” that these characters were meant to replace the Avengers as a new team, fans are skeptical of the direction Marvel will be taking to save their upcoming films without Spider-man.

Not only is Marvel’s success rate in peril, analysts like “Boxoffice” chief Shawn Robbins claim that it is easier to assume that Sony’s success rate with Spider-man may not stay consistent without the help of Feige and Marvel. Although their implicated plans to continue their “Spider-verse” series and create a crossover story with Tom Holland’s Spider-man and “Venom” sounds solid, Robbins says that solo Spider-man films do not “get to a billion dollars without Feige and Marvel’s involvement.” 

At the end of the day, Disney believes that Marvel does not need Spider-man to be successful because of the amount of films they have lined up for phase four. Sony also believes that they have learned enough from Feige’s guidance and that their achievements with “Venom” and “Spider-verse” will continue. With the reported mindset of both companies, it is likely that no compromise will be made between Disney and Sony any time soon.