Spider-Man’s Avengers future hangs in balance
According to several news reports, a dispute between Walt Disney and Sony threatens to end their co-production of Spider-Man films – which includes movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a $22.5 billion franchise that brings together the superheroes from Marvel Comics under the Avengers umbrella.Updated: Aug 22, 2019 07:04 IST
A showdown over sharing revenue between two of the world’s biggest film studios appears to be a melee comic book superhero Spider-Man is unlikely to sling his way out of.
According to several news reports, a dispute between Walt Disney and Sony threatens to end their co-production of Spider-Man films – which includes movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), a $22.5 billion franchise that brings together the superheroes from Marvel Comics under the Avengers umbrella.
Sony holds the film rights to the popular Marvel character Spider-Man, even though Disney acquired Marvel Studios for $4 billion in 2009.
The two sides had been locked in negotiations on new terms for their partnership, Bloomberg reported citing officials who asked not to be identified. Talks were ongoing, one of the people added, but a statement by Sony later in the day suggested the discussions may have broken down.
A spokesperson said Sony will continue to work on Spider-Man films and Marvel will not be involved in their production. The studio also confirmed that Marvel Studio boss Kevin Feige, widely credited with the phenomenal boom in comic book movies of the past decade -- will no longer produce Spider-Man films.
“We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him... do not allow time for him to work on IP [intellectual property] they do not own,” the Sony spokesperson said in a statement.
Disney has been requesting a 50% share of profits in the films going forward. Sony wanted to keep the current arrangement, in which Disney gets a 5% share of box-office revenue, according to the Deadline website, which reported earlier on the dispute.
The two Hollywood giants agreed in 2015 to work together on films featuring the web-slinging superhero after collections from Sony’s Spider-Man films did not show significant growth.
The first feature in their collaboration, 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” captured $880 million in ticket sales worldwide, the best performance of the franchise up until then. A follow-up, this year’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” grossed $1.1 billion, a record for the series and for Sony, Bloomberg reported.
Spider-Man, played by Tom Holland, also emerged as a key character in the most recent Avengers films, which signalled to fans that future MCU films movies would have Spider-Man among its most prominent superheroes.
With that hope having suffered a setback, a small consolation for fans is the possible inclusion of X-Men and Fantastic Four superheroes in future MCU movies with a deal between Disney and Fox done earlier this year.