Corporate greed and the war over intellectual property rights are about to crush yet another pop-culture icon. Or so it seems at least. As you may already know, I'm a big fan of superhero movies in general and I'm particularly impressed by the ongoing series of MCU films.
source: Wikimedia Commons
This series of superhero films is ongoing since 2008 with an average of two films per year, starting with Iron Man. Then we got introduced to Thor, The Hulk, Loki, Asgard, Captain America, we got the first Avengers movie with all of them together in 2012, and slowly but surely all the other heroes and villains were introduced to an ever growing audience of admiring fans. We were promised, by Marvel and Disney, that the first "phase" of films would end in a crescendo where all the preceding films and individual stories would conclude the ever present main story-line in an epic battle between good and evil; a promise that was soundly delivered on with Avengers Endgame, a film that now stands at the top of the list with the Highest-Grossing Movies of All Time Worldwide, beating even Titanic and Avatar.
One of the best moments in this ten year history of blockbuster movies was when the character Spider-Man was introduced into the MCU during 2016's Captain America: Civil War. Spider-Man is one of the, if not the most popular character in the entire Marvel comic-book universe, and it was a treat for the fans to see Peter Parker interact with the rest of the superheroes that had made it to the big screen under the guidance of Marvel Studio's president, Kevin Feige. To accomplish this, Disney had to broker a deal with Sony Pictures, as Sony held the intellectual property rights for the character. Sony Pictures made two attempts in the past to launch a longer running Spider-Man series on their own; first with Tobey Maguire in the 2002 Spider-Man, which was fairly successful but never made it to more than two sequels, and second with Andrew Garfield in the 2012 The Amazing Spider-Man, but that only managed one sequel.
The news that Sony Pictures had relinquished their hold on Spider-Man's IP was welcomed and applauded by the majority of fans of Spider-Man and fans of the MCU alike, even if we all knew it was a temporary and conditional deal between two mega-corporations that both have their own shareholders to please. The deal was for Spider-Man to be allowed to appear in 5 MCU movies, being Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and most lately Spider-Man: Far from Home; so the deal has reached its conclusion.
And yesterday many fans' dreams were crushed when news broke that Sony Pictures and Disney haven't been able to reach a deal going forward. This means that, as things stand right now, that Spider-Man has left the MCU indefinitely. Both Sony Pictures and Disney are very careful with the words they use in bringing this news; because they both don't want to give the outright impression that Spider-Man won't be featuring in the Marvel Cinematic Universe anymore. Sony Pictures doesn't want that because they will of course go back to making Spider-Man films themselves now that they've seen how to do it successfully. Disney doesn't want that because they no doubt hope that there's a way to keep Spider-Man alive in their universe, maybe by making Sony Pictures another offer. But this will, most likely, not happen.
The main reason for this is that Sony Pictures released a little movie called Venom last year, which was quite the success story; that film grossed almost one billion dollar world-wide on a budget far smaller than the MCU Spider-Man films, that grossed around one billion dollar each. The deal that Sony struck with Disney now appears to have been a master stroke; it's reported that Marvel Studios and Disney got nothing from the box-office profits as the deal was that Sony Pictures, being the holder of the IP, got that, and that Disney and Marvel would get the money from increased sales of the comic-books and the merchandise (toys). Disney has proposed a 50-50 investment deal with Sony Pictures going forward, but didn't agree to that. Under the current state of affairs, future MCU movies wouldn't even be allowed to mention Spider-Man. Remember the post-credits scene from Spider-Man: Far From Home? You can say goodbye to that cliffhanger ever being resolved. As things stand now that is. But it's like I said: Sony Pictures now has in their hands yet another possibility to create their own franchise around one of the world's most beloved superheroes, and I don't believe they'll give that up in a million years. And given Disney's track-record, I don't believe they will make Sony Pictures an offer they can't refuse. It looks like we, the Spider-Man fans and MCU-fans, will get the short end of the stick...
Why Marvel Lost Spider-Man To Sony - Avengers Marvel Phase 4
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