Is There a Spiderman Deal?
This week there was a flurry of reports about a new Sony/Marvel Spiderman something starring Tom Holland being in the works. It’s been all over the fan sites and Polygon (which is more of an anti-fan site).
Except there hasn’t been an announcement.
It has been better than a year since Spiderman: No Way Home was released. The third of Holland’s Spiderman outings raked in nearly two billion in box office receipts worldwide, and easily shot past that line when you factor in the home video market.
The immediate rumors in the wake of the release in January ‘22 were that Disney and Sony were close to a new deal.
Here’s a little background. Spiderman and his related works were licensed out to Sony/Columbia Studios back in the late 1990s when Avi Arad and Ike Perlmutter were forced to pawn the family jewels just to keep Marvel in business. Tobey Maguire’s Spiderman was a mega success, but Andrew Garfield’s iteration underperformed significantly.
This wasn’t really Garfield’s fault; the biggest problems were on the business side.
Regardless, Sony went to Disney/Marvel and asked for help. Ike Perlmutter was in favor of the idea since ultimately Spiderman was Marvel’s property even if they had had to license him out. Marvel was ill-served by having one of its masthead characters significantly brand damaged.
Remember when Marvel used to care about something like that?
Cross-over deals were established. Disney/Marvel got to use Spiderman in the Infinity Saga and Sony got to use MCU characters in their movies. Marvel got a fairly hefty 25% of the gross but they did contribute to the budget and their expertise was supplied. The commitment was for three pictures, which was fulfilled when Spiderman: No Way Home was released last year.
It was a good deal on both sides.
However, No Way Home had a fairly significant ending from a legal standpoint. All of Tom Holland’s Spiderman friends, family, and acquaintances no longer had any memory of him by the end of the movie. The reason this matters is that all of those characters are contractually locked. They can only be used in joint Marvel/Sony productions. By giving them all amnesia Sony cleared the board for solo Spiderman projects without any involvement from Disney at all. Tom Holland can be used provided that Sony gives him a new costume.
Things had changed at Sony when Tom Rothman came in, most of the problems with Spiderman in Garfield’s day had been due to a few executives that Rothman has either ejected or otherwise neutered.
From what I’ve heard No Way Home had very little input from Disney. Sony managed to make this film all on their own.
For Sony, this raises the question: Why should we keep doing business with Disney?
When Disney was bringing Robert Downey’s Ironman to the party that was one thing, but who can they loan out now? Brie Larson? New and Improved Captain America? She-Hulk?
When Marvel had its shit together working with them was one thing but now, they are dragging down the entire superhero genre with their highly politicized content.
I’m not saying there isn’t a deal however, the source of this rumor was a single tweet from someone who has had good leaks in the past but whose record isn’t spotless.
Admittedly something should have been announced before now.
Spiderman is clearly the only Marvel property that can still pull in a billion-dollar box office. Tom Holland was making all kinds of noises about how he was ready to move on now that his contract has expired. Translation: Holland wants a raise. The kind that has to be approved by both boards of directors. Iger may have been sabotaging that one during his wilderness months. Now that he is back in the saddle and the board is backing him things could be moving forward again.
I suspect there is a Disney deal in the works because Sony could have returned to Garfield’s Spiderman after No Way Home. But there is nothing solid yet.
Discuss on Social Galactic