Peter Parker continues to have bad luck with his parents.
While his real mom and dad are long gone, Spider-Man’s real-world guardians Disney and Sony have been disputing over how best to look after him.
The web-flinging vigilante is a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe thanks to two Tom Holland-starring films – 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming and 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home. He’s also made a handful of appearances in the MCU’s ensemble movies – but he’s always remained the property of Sony Pictures.
For months now, Disney, Marvel Studios, and Sony have been in talks over how to split financial stakes in the Spider-Man franchise as they worked to update the shared custody deal they struck in 2015. That landmark agreement allowed Marvel to have access to the Spider-Man character while Sony retained ownership.
The stand-off reportedly ended on August 20, when, according to Deadline, the two companies failed to reach an agreement.
The inability to strike new terms in a deal, which would have seen Disney obtaining a co-financing stake in the property, means that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will no longer produce Spider-Man films. Furthermore, Marvel will cease any involvement in the Holland-starring Spidey universe moving forward – meaning that Spider-Man is swinging away from the MCU and crawling back into Sony’s web.
Deadline’s sources indicated that the talks ended because of a disagreement over money. Disney is said to have requested a 50 percent co-financing stake in future Spider-Man films – of which there are reportedly two, anticipated to feature both actor Tom Holland, and Jon Watts returning in the director’s chair. The talks also involved Disney potentially extending that stake into other Spider-Man-adjacent films, like the growing Venom franchise.
A 50 percent stake is a hefty increase from Marvel Studios’ current share of the Spider-Man movie series, which is “five percent of first dollar gross” – or the money that a film makes during its first day out in theaters. Sony wanted to keep that deal intact, Disney didn’t, and so Disney came forward with its own proposition.
As Deadline’s Mike Fleming Jr. put it, Sony executives, quote, “turned that offer down flat” – apparently not even approaching Disney with a counteroffer. According to the report, the studio had no interest in splitting ownership over what has become its most commercially successful franchise. It’s probably not a coincidence that just a day before this news broke, Spider-Man: Far From Home officially edged out Skyfall to become Sony’s highest-earning movie ever.
Kevin Feige, a big fan of Spider-Man, reportedly had every intention of continuing to produce movies featuring the teen hero if Disney and Sony were able to renegotiate terms.
Sony is clearly confident that the franchise has a bright future ahead without Feige or Marvel Studios involved in producing it.
In addition to the now Sony-controlled Spider-Man sequels, the studio is confirmed to be working on a sequel to Venom directed by Andy Serkis, a Morbius: The Living Vampire movie starring Jared Leto, and a film centered on Kraven the Hunter. According to Deadline, they’re also still working on that Black Cat/Silver Sable thing they’ve been trying to get made forever.
The big question surrounding this news is how it will affect the MCU, which has heavily featured Spider-Man in its overarching narrative up to this point. In just a handful of movies, Holland’s Spider-Man went from a spunky kid who played pinch hitter during one tense airport battle to a universe-travelling hero who would put his life on the line to save other people.
Peter Parker also developed a deeply moving dynamic with Tony Stark, serving as his protégé-on-the-rise and standing as the closest thing to a son that Tony ever had. For Marvel fans, now it looks like they’re both gone.
It seems like Spider-Man will never again cross paths with other MCU heroes, and will instead spend his next few movies cozying up to characters in Sony’s Spidey universe.
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