It seems like the most popular topic this week has been of Spider-Man leaving the Marvel Cinematic Universe. So, because I found this to be a fascinating topic, I decided to talk about it. Yesterday, on August 20th, Mike Fleming Jr. from Deadline reported that the creative partnership between Disney and Sony has ended. In the article, Mike writes that this was caused by Kevin Feige, Marvel Cinematic Universe’s president, and Tom Rothman, one of the leaders at Sony, not being able to come up with a satisfying financial agreement. Before this situation occurred, “Disney asked that future Spider-Man films be a 50/50 co-financing arrangement between the studios” because Disney didn’t want to keep “continuing the current terms where Marvel receives in the range of 5% of first dollar gross”. Sony, on the other hand, tried to create other deals that, hopefully, would appeal to Disney. This is because they didn’t want to face the possibility of losing profits and their intellectual properties. Within this article, Mike reported that “it is understandable that the fiscally shrewd Rothman would balk at giving up half of Sony’s biggest franchise to Marvel”. He then questions, “Does the Mouse really need half of the movie universe also?” But no matter what offer Sony gave Disney, the latter studio refused. It left Feige, Rothman, and their respective studios parting ways, for now. Mike updated his report with an official statement that Sony made about the situation. To summarize what the studio said, the statement expresses no negative feelings toward Disney. They state that Kevin Feige is no longer able to produce their films because of the various projects that Feige is attached to. As of the release of this Word on the Street story and Mike Fleming Jr.’s article, it seems that Disney or Marvel hasn’t made any statements about the situation.
When Spider-Man first entered the Marvel Cinematic Universe prior to the release of Captain America: Civil War, fans were more than thrilled with the idea. They made statements about how Spider-Man was “coming home” and that he would, once again, be “joining the family”. I, honestly, couldn’t help but feel shocked about the idea of Spider-Man leaving the MCU. While I haven’t seen this studio’s version of Spider-Man films, I have seen Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame. Even though he’s only been featured on screen for three years, Spider-Man has already made a big impact. Based on what I read in Mike Fleming Jr.’s article, it seems like both Disney and Sony both wanted a significant share in this cinematic pie. However, it sounds like Disney was expecting a bigger share than they already had. As I already wrote in this Word on the Street post, Mike was questioning if Disney truly needed more of the Spider-Man property. This is a good question to ask, especially since the MCU already has a lot of characters and stories within their roster. Speaking of rosters, something that Sony said in their statement made Disney look hypocritical. When addressing why Kevin won’t be working with Sony anymore, Sony said “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”. Even though Marvel is owned by Disney, Disney purchased this studio in the late 2000s. This means that the characters and most of the stories are acquired from Marvel comics, not something that Disney created themselves. The same goes for the Star Wars franchise, which Disney bought from George Lucas in the mid-2010s. As for the classic animated films and live-action remakes, a large portion of these are adaptations of pre-existing, literary material. Even though Disney created their own version of the story, they did not create the story itself. So, yes, Disney owns a good amount of IP, but only on a technicality.
Do you think that Spider-Man will leave the MCU forever? If so, which superhero do you think will become the next face of the franchise? Put your thoughts in the comment section below!
Have fun at the movies!
If you want to read Mike Fleming Jr.’s article, here’s the link: