With great power come great bargaining positions, maximizing the prospect for lucrative multiplatform IP-leveraging opportunities and corporate synergy. After publicly threatening to walk away from the bargaining table late last summer, Sony has finally come to an arrangement with Disney and its subsidiary Marvel Studios that will allow the web-slinging teen superhero Spider-Man at least one more movie and another guest appearance in a separate film within the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Under the new deal, Variety reports that Disney/Marvel will co-finance 25 percent of a Spider-Man film to follow the ongoing exploits of the MCU’s version of the character as he has appeared in 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, several Avengers movies, and related media. Disney, in turn will take 25 percent of the film’s profits, a considerably better deal than what they were offering over the summer, when Sony balked at a 50/50 split that would have cost them half the profits of their major tentpole franchise. (This summer Far from Home became Sony’s highest grossing film of all time, beating the James Bond entry Skyfall’s $1.1 billion in worldwide receipts with returns of $1.13 billion.)
As per their previous agreements, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige will continue lending his producing skills to this future Spider-Man film and Disney will retain merchandising rights to the character (not counting video game rights, evidently, which have proven very profitable for Sony Interactive with the launch of a wildly popular Playstation 4 game).
Tom Holland, who portrays Spider-Man and his secret identity Peter Parker, expressed his reaction to the news with a clip from Martin Scorsese’s The Wolf of Wall Street.
Everyone else appears to be mining the same strain of co-parenting/children of divorce humor over the news, in large part because Holland’s Spider-Man is a precious, innocent Queens boy whose safety we all want to fiercely protect.
No one, it appears, is rooting for Sony to retain sole control of the character so that they could ask Holland to (say) pilot Spider-Man’s 60-meter-tall giant robot Leopardon or his machine gun- and missile-equipped flying car, the Spider Machine GP-7, from the very loose 1970s adaptation of the comic produced by Toei Company for Tokyo Channel 12 in Japan. Sad. A wasted opportunity.
The third MCU Spider-Man film—probably with “home” somewhere in the title, like Spider-Man: No Direction Home, or Spider-Man: Home Alone—is slated for release on July 16, 2021.