Marvel, Disney and Sony Dispute Over Spiderman Films
Marvel, Disney and fictional hero fans alike are all scratching their heads at the recent dispute between Disney, Sony, and Marvel regarding the rights and production of the new Spiderman franchise. Ultimately, Sony owns the rights to Spiderman but had cut a deal with Marvel so that they could include Tom Holland’s character in the highly lucrative Marvel series that was recently capped off with Avengers: Endgame. Although that isn’t the end of the road, let’s dig a little deeper.
Marvel was running low on funds in the 90s and was in desperate need of cash, so they reached out to Sony to make a deal. Marvel offered them the rights to several of their hero characters, but Sony just wanted Spiderman. Eventually, Marvel decided to let Sony have the right to create and benefit from all of the Spiderman movies, which is where we saw the classic trilogy featuring Toby McGuire doing that wacky dance in the middle of New York in Spiderman 3. Sony had to get out a movie every couple of years under this deal which caused them to immediately reboot the franchise with Andrew Garfield. Meanwhile, Sony sells back the right to merchandise back to Marvel so they were then able to benefit from toys, apparel, and Spidey-branded products.
The current split is that Sony lent Spider-Man to Marvel so that they would still retain the majority of the profit and responsibility to fund alongside the rights to the solo films but Marvel will be the creative lead handling direction. Marvel still benefits from the movies pushing merchandise sales while Sony benefits from the movie revenue. Everybody wins right? Well, Marvel wants a new deal. Marvel now proposes that they and Sony split the funding for the movies 50/50 which would also result in them splitting the box office take 50/50. Now, this is where the conflict and the contract disputes are originating from. Now, what are they going to do moving forward if they can’t work out a deal? Will the new franchise falter to lower quality?
Now, there are many outcomes to consider. Will Sony just let Disney buy Spider-Man back? Well, it isn’t likely seeing as Spider-Man has been a powerhouse with the newest and continuing franchise featuring Tom Holland, the budding Venom franchise, and the recent animated Oscar-winning Spider-Man: Into the Spideyverse film. Spider-Man is just too valuable for a company that has been dishing out money left and right. Why doesn’t Disney buy Sony Pictures or all of Sony? Well, there are laws put in place that avoid monopolizing industries so they would face legal ramifications and the risk really doesn’t appear worth the reward. The reality is that Marvel makes more money off of merchandising than they ever really could off of the films. With the way Sony has been struggling with creating films and profiting from them, it is in Sony, Marvel, and Disney’s best interest to keep the deal in its current state. Who knows, if Disney and Marvel wait long enough, they might be able to acquire the masked hero on their own terms.
We hope this provided a little more clarity regarding this contract dispute and don’t worry, viewers will still get to watch their friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.