Photo Credit: Jay Maidment/Sony Pictures
Spider-Man might be leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe, due to financial disputes between movie rights holder Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios' parent company Disney. Disney reportedly wanted a higher share of the pie — a 50-50 co-finance deal, rather than the current 5 percent revenue share — and Sony simply turned down the offer, not wanting to share its biggest film franchise. With the two American giants unable to reach new terms over the past few months, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige won't be involved with future Spider-Man productions, which means that the characters might stop crossing over between the two Marvel universes.
Deadline first brought word of the new development, noting that the dispute between Sony and Disney essentially came down to money. The latter also wanted to extend its partnership to Spider-Man spin-off films such as Venom, in addition to move towards a 50-50 agreement, but Sony had no interest in that offer. Sony reportedly offered other terms, but Disney wasn't interested. If you're wondering why Disney would want to put more money towards the Spider-Man films, that's because it then gets a bigger share of the potential profits. Spider-Man: Far From Home is now the highest-grossing movie for Sony till date, having made over $1.109 billion (about Rs. 7,913 crores).
Late on Tuesday, Sony Pictures put out an official statement on Twitter: “Much of today's news about Spider-Man has mischaracterised recent discussions about Kevin Feige's involvement in the franchise. We are disappointed, but respect Disney's decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live action Spider-Man film. We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him — including all their newly added Marvel properties — do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own. Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue.”
Sony is clearly putting the blame on Disney here, and it seems like a diversionary tactic to say that Feige has too much on his plate. The acclaimed producer has handled Spider-Man productions through Marvel Studio's busiest and biggest times, during Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. Sure, Marvel Studios now has the added responsibility of Disney+ miniseries and the Fox properties — including the X-Men, Fantastic Four, Deadpool, and more — but they would love to have Spider-Man. He's easily the best-known character in the MCU, and Feige loves Spider-Man too, per Deadline, and would have loved to continue working if Sony and Disney could have reached an agreement.
Deadline claims that Sony has two Spider-Man films in development, with Tom Holland set to reprise his title role. Though director Jon Watts doesn't have a deal, the studio expects that he will return as well. Sony is also working on several Spider-Man spin-off films for its own Marvel universe, including the Jared Leto-starrer Morbius that's currently filming and slated for July 2020, a Venom sequel with director Andy Serkis that's slated for October 2020, and films based on The Sinister Six, Kraven the Hunter, Silver Sable, Black Cat, and Silk among others.
It will be interesting to see where this goes, considering Sony has had a terrible streak with live-action Spider-Man films since Spider-Man 2 in 2004. Its only success was the animated Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which won much acclaim and an Oscar.