It’s not been a great couple of weeks for Disney. They missed their earnings due to an under-performing Star Wars: Galaxy’s Edge roll-out in Disneyland and a massively underperforming X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Today, a whistleblower came out alleging that the company has been inflating their earnings for years, and now we are getting news that Marvel Studios might have just lost access to one of their most popular characters, Spider-Man.
Despite reports from Collider that negotiations are ongoing, the internet is abuzz with news that a financing and distribution dispute between Sony and Disney has led to a break in the partnership that makes it possible for Spider-Man to appear in MCU films and MCU characters to appear in the Sony-produced Spider-Man films. This also means that Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige will not be producing Spider-Man films anymore (if this really is a break-up).
Sony is feeling good about Spider-Man right now. Spider-Man: Far From Home just became the highest-grossing film ever produced by the studio, and it’s possible that they think they no longer need Disney and the MCU as a crutch. Meanwhile, the web crawler has been set up as a major player in the future of the MCU and it is hard to imagine what Disney can do to replace such a well-loved character and the actor behind him, Tom Holland.
Worst case scenario, two more films will come out before the two studios can officially end ties. However, as it currently stands, Feige will not be working as Lead Creative Producer on either. In the end, it’s all going to come down to money. According to the reports, Disney offered a co-financing deal to Sony for 50/50 on future Spider-Man films and films in which Spider-Man is featured. In the current deal, Marvel gets 5% of first-dollar gross for all projects.
We have to imagine that what we are currently hearing is more posturing than anything else and that it will be settled by the time D23 comes at the end of the month. At least, that’s what we are hoping. With the set up that both Avengers: Endgame and Spider-man: Far From Home have given us for the future of the character, it would be a hell of a shame if it all got tossed away.
On the upside, Spidey vs Venom?