The ever-expanding Marvel Cinematic Universe got a little bit smaller Tuesday after Marvel Studios and Sony cut their partnership ties on Spider-Man’s cinematic future. Deadline first broke the story, reporting that the issue, unsurprisingly and disappointingly, came down to money.
From what we currently understand, trouble started when Disney told Sony that their cut of Spidey’s profits wasn’t cutting it. Back when Captain America: Civil War was still in production, Disney and Sony landed an agreement to share the webhead, with Disney being content to have Marvel take 5% of first-dollar grossed on the webhead’s movies. After Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige produced two of the highest-grossing movies of the year with Avengers: Endgame and Spider-Man: Far From Home (one of which is literally the highest-grossing film of all time, and the other Sony’s highest-grossing,) Disney figured that Sony should go in on a 50/50 co-financing split with them; and Sony didn’t even come back to the table with a counter-offer.
This move comes as a pretty big shock, needless to say. Far From Home set up a pretty heavy plot arc for Peter Parker, pretty much securing his presence in the MCU, and Sony’s little slice of Spider-Pie was doing pretty great with Into the Spider-Verse and Venom, both of which are slated for sequels. Disney even expressed interest in assisting with both projects, with Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige even being uncredited for production assistance on Venom. According to Sony, though, they feel that they’ve got everything they need to make Spider-Man successful on their own, and Disney feels Kevin Feige is already stretched thin enough with a massive Phase 4 on the horizon.
Since Deadline’s initial article on the issue, a Sony representative has since gone on record with io9 saying that it’s their belief that these negotiations are still ongoing and that all this is simply over a producer credit. Others have said that Deadline’s article is totally correct and that Spider-Man’s time with the MCU has come to a close. Whatever the case may be, Tom Holland has been slated to head up two more films as Marvel’s incredibly popular wall-crawler. At this moment, it’s unclear what the future of these films will be, or even what the MCU’s future might hold now that one of its key players has been effectively eliminated from its timeline. As a big Spider-Man fan since, like, forever though, I’m still holding out hope that things might come back together. After all, Sony surprised us once way back in 2016; who’s to say they won’t do it again?
We’ll keep things updated as news rolls in, but for now, we’re keeping our eyes glued to any and all sources to see what Marvel, Sony, and Spider-Man’s futures may hold.