Anishka Bompelli DP1
Staring up at the large movie screen, children and adults everywhere admire the figure in the red suit - the one shooting out sinews of webs from his wrists, clinging to the sides of buildings, agilely performing his flips and parkours, and saving thousands of people from deadly disasters, all with his “spidey-senses”. The videography perfectly captures epic fights and other jaw-dropping scenes. Fanatics greatly praise the director, writers, and producers for creating this cinematographic masterpiece. However, behind the character, the film, and the production is the conflict between Disney and Sony Pictures that could evidently alter Spider-Man’s place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
How did the disagreement between the two entertainment companies occur? To answer, we will have to start from the beginning, when Sony had first introduced the Spider-Man films to the public. In 1998, Sony had owned the film rights to Spider-Man and over nine hundred other Marvel comic book characters. In 2002, they released Spider-Man, the first movie in the Spider-Man trilogy. The film had done exceptionally well and profited over eight-hundred million US dollars, leading Sony to release Spider-Man 2 and Spider-Man 3. The latter two had unfortunately gained severe criticism, and had dipped in profits by sixty four percent from the first installment in the series. It was five years later when Sony decided to reboot the Spider Universe and release The Amazing Spider-Man under the new direction of Marc Webb, garnering over seven hundred million dollars. This was a huge step up from the previous movies, which led them to release a sequel, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, only for it to fall short again.
At this time, Sony was experiencing much pressure from the public and from Disney to strike a deal to potentially save the Spider-Man films. Disney did not like how Sony was producing sub-par films for a potentially amazing character. It was rather unfortunate that the sequel had not done well, as Sony had wanted to create a film universe that could rival the MCU. Eventually, in 2015, an agreement between the two companies formed, which allowed Disney to include Spider-Man in its universe, while Sony kept creative control and distribution rights.
So what does this bring us to? Why, four years later, is there a dispute with the deal made?
Although Sony would rather keep the deal stagnant, Disney had proclaimed in wanting to split the profits of future Spider-Man movies by fifty-fifty. This would be extremely detrimental to Sony as five of its highest grossing films have been from the Spider Universe. Their 2018 film, Venom, was able to be released primarily due to the success of the Spider-Man films. Without half of the financial gain, Sony would be in a tough spot. Paul Dergarabedian, the Comscore senior media analyst, told Business Insider, "Without a doubt the implications of whatever happens with this potential deal - or lack thereof - will be massive, ongoing, and profoundly affect the future of the MCU and Spider-Man's place within this all-important cinematic ecosystem." As of now, both companies are trying to reach an agreement that will benefit them. The future of the character depends on the business relationship between Sony and Disney, and with a proper deal, Spider-Man can continue to thrive alongside the heroes of the MCU.