DIGITAL CONTENT MANAGER
Peter Parker is in quite a mess this time.
Unfortunately, this situation is a lot different than what he is used to. It doesn’t involve villains that look like a goblin, an octopus or a vulture. This time, he is caught in the middle of something much worse and much more complicated: a battle between two massive corporations.
This story begins in the 1990s. Marvel was bankrupt and to save their company, they decided to sell the film rights of some of their characters to various studios. Things got a bit messy.
Sony ended up with the rights to make Spider-Man movies. They initially produced a trilogy starring Tobey Maguire, with movies released in 2002, 2004 and 2007. They rebooted the franchise with Andrew Garfield in the lead role for two movies in 2012 and 2014.
During this time, Marvel Studios began building an unprecedented universe of interconnected films using the characters they had the rights to. Spider-Man fans were left to dream about the possibility of Spider-Man appearing in an Avengers movie.
However, in February 2015, those dreams became a reality as Marvel and Sony announced that they would begin working together on future Spider-Man films. A few months later, Tom Holland was announced as the new Spider-Man.
Holland first appeared as Spider-Man in “Captain America: Civil War.” He reprised the role in “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Avengers: Infinity War,” “Avengers: Endgame,” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home.”
The latter became Sony’s highest grossing movie of all time. Everything was good with Spider-Man, until suddenly it wasn’t.
On Aug. 20, 2019, it was reported that the Sony and Marvel collaboration was coming to an end because the two studios could not agree on a new partnership.
In their original deal, Marvel and Sony worked together to produce “solo” Spider-Man movies, (“Spider-Man: Homecoming” and “Spider-Man: Far From Home”), and Marvel could use one of their most popular characters in their own films.
The main point of contention is the fact that Disney/Marvel received 5% of the profits from the solo Spider-Man films. Allegedly, Disney approached Sony with a new offer that would allow them take home 50% of the profits, which Sony rejected (probably without much thought).
After all, why would Sony want to go from receiving 95% of the profits to 50%? At the end of the day, Sony is corporation whose goal is to make as much money as possible. On the flip side, it makes total sense that Disney/Marvel wants a bigger piece of the pie. Being involved in the creation of extremely successful movies and only receiving 5% of the profit is not ideal.
Two extremely large companies working together to create movies always seemed too good to be true, and the fallout seems quite rational to me. As someone who loves Marvel, I was surprised by the fan reactions that I saw online. Petitions appeared requesting that Sony let go of the property or renegotiate with Disney. There were also calls to boycott Sony products.
There is not a lot of information known about Peter Parker’s next appearance on the big screen. Holland said in an interview that he is excited to continue playing the character. Sony CEO Tony Vinciquerra said that for the moment “the door is closed” on the two studios working together.
As unfortunate as it is that Spider-Man is not currently involved with Marvel, this situation is the perfect reminder that massive companies like Sony and Disney care more about making money than anything else.