It's a dark day for film fans and comic book geeks across the internet (and the world). And if you clicked on this post, you're probably already processing the news: Deadline reports that the business partnership between Disney and Sony that allows Spider-Man and his surrounding characters to appear in the Marvel Studios films has dissolved (or it's VERY close).
Basically, this is what happened: The original deal that went into place to introduce Tom Holland's Peter Parker to the Marvel Cinematic universe gave Marvel top guy Kevin Feige creative control over the character. In exchange for using him, Sony still got the cash flow for those Spidey films. Homecoming and Far From Home are Sony films. BUT, Feige and the team at Marvel Studios & Disney get to score all of the money from team-up films that Spidey appears in. So they got to enjoy the success of Civil War, Infinity War, and Endgame all on their own.
That's the way it's been. But now, Disney's tried to alter the deal in negotiations. They reportedly want to make it a 50/50 split on those solo Spider-Man films, while Sony still forks over cash for the bill. And when they say that, they mean ALL of them. Everything in that property. And you can sorta understand that because they saved the brand and did the work. But from Sony's point of view, why would they do that? It doesn't benefit them at all. Especially not since they won an Oscar for Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Sure, they've screwed up Spidey in live-action TWICE, but they appear to be on an upswing (pun fully intended).
So now we're stuck. The franchise is stuck. Tom Holland is stuck. Nobody knows what the future is. It's awkward for a number of reasons. And that's just the business and production side! On top of all that madness, Sony released this statement last night that makes it even more complicated:
“Much of today’s news about Spider-Man has mischaracterized 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,” a Sony spokesperson said. “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.”
Lots of industry insiders are saying things aren't REALLY done yet. But who knows? It's important to remember that this all comes down to money, and neither side wants to stop making money. Especially when the latest entry crossed a billion dollars.
It raises a lot of interesting questions and potentially bad possibilities. Is it good that someone stood up to the power of Disney? Yeah, that's a major component of this. But could it confuse people and damage both sides in terms of branding and the overall product? Absolutely. Check out my Twitter thread on that point of view:
Lastly, we leave you with this sad meme from Fandom: