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5 Things That Could Happen From the Sony \ Disney Fight Over Spider-Man

Spider-Man 2 (2004) - Spider-Man / Peter Parker (Tobey Maguire)
Find out what could happen now that Spider-Man is leaving the MCU. Yesterday news broke that negotiations between Sony and Disney over rights to Spider-Man have broken down.

If you haven't heard Marvel Studios doesn't own the rights to all the Marvel characters (You can check out our handy Marvel Movie Rights chart for a primer). Back in 2015 Sony and Disney created a complex arrangement to allow Peter Parker \ Spider-Man into the MCU under producer Kevin Feige. Apparently, during contract negotiations for the next set of movies, the deal broke down.

There was already tension between Sony and Marvel. A report came out that they had put a clause in the contract that if the Spider-Man sequel didn't make $1 billion Marvel would lose the licensing rights to Spider-Man. Sony recently announced that the latest movie Spider-Man: Far From Home has crossed $1 billion and is the studio's most successful release.

The two sides are blaming each other for the breakdown in talks. Here's what can happen next.

Update: Disney and Sony confirmed that talks are over and Spider-Man is out of the MCU. But then they changed their minds and reached a deal.

1. Sony and Disney Work Things Out

Update: Done
According to Deadline and other sources, this is all about money. Marvel reportedly approached Sony to change the financial arrangement. Spider-Man has always been a big franchise and even with the worst-performing movies they've brought in $2,480,171,644 in domestic ticket sales.

Currently, Marvel gets a small percentage of the "first-dollar" gross meaning they get a percentage of the money (gross) the movie makes on its first day of release. Kind of like getting the first licks of the ice cream before it starts melting.

It's a common arrangement in the industry and usually makes the studio or person a ton of money if the movie is successful. Leonardo Di Caprio gave up his usual rate for Inception in favor of splitting first-dollar gross points. It got him his biggest payday of $50 million. That's a lot of ice cream.

Marvel currently gets around 5% of first-dollar gross and they wanted a new arrangement where Sony co-finances the movies and shares profit with Disney around 50%. They also wanted the deal to extend to all the movies in the Spider-Man franchise including the ones produced by Sony. This would put a lot more money in Marvel's pocket and less in Sony's. Sources say that Sony, led by Tom Rothman and Tony Vinciquerra, came back with other ideas including taking Kevin Feige off the list of producers for future MCU films but Disney stuck to their guns. So Sony walked.

It's worth noting though that a deal could still be made. This isn't the first stalemate between Marvel and Sony. Marvel fought for years to get the rights to Spider-Man. Back in 2014, Marvel tried repeatedly to work out a deal to bring Spider-Man into the MCU since 2014 and Sony turned them down. But in 2015 they announced the two had worked out a deal to license Spider-Man for Captain America: Civil War and other films. So it can all work out.

Some are saying the deal is dead. But Variety reports the two studios have "hit an impasse" but they could still find a way to make it work. But what if they can't?

2. Sony Makes Spider-Man Movies On Their Own

Sony bought the live-action rights to Spider-Man and all the related characters back in 1998 for $10 million, plus 5% of any movies' gross revenue and half the revenue from consumer products. Since then the studio has made five Spide-Man movies starting with Sam Raimi's Spider-Man in 2002 to The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014.

While the movies have made a ton of money for the studio the last movie was a critical and audience disaster. The third Marc Webb film made $709 million off a budget of $200-293 mil. It was one of the top 20 most profitable releases of 2014. But it was the lowest earner in Spider-Man movie history and critics and audiences balked. It killed Sony's hopes to build a new connected universe of films around Peter Parker including spin-off films featuring the Sinister Six and Venom.

With the last few appearances in MCU movies like Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Far From Home the character's more popular than ever. Considering Spider-Man is Marvel's most popular character that says a lot.

Is Tom Holland still going to be Spider-Man? Since Tom Holland signed a six-picture deal (not including his Civil War cameo) he's under contract for two more movies. Sony could decide to bring him into the Sony Marvel Universe and have a new solo movie.

That would leave Marvel with a huge gap in the MCU. They went all-in on Spider-man and he's been in almost every movie since 2015. The whole storyline of the Tony Stark is entangled with Peter Parker. He's been a major part of the movies since Avengers: Infinity War. They'd either have to kill him off or make up reasons why he's not there. It would be a ridiculous nightmare.

What would change if Holland jumps to Sony? Everything. His whole back story is interwoven with Tony Stark and the Avengers. Stark finds him, gives him his suit and teams him with the Avengers. All the Marvel Studios movies are interconnected in some way. Hulk's created because of Captain America. Iron Man's father worked with Steve Rogers. Thor was found thanks to Nick Fury and his brother Loki's attack on New York led to finding Hulk.

He would have to start with a whole new origin and background. As an audience, we'd constantly compare the two versions. Plus the two studios would be constantly sniping at each other about which version is better. Poor Holland would end up like the child in a divorce trapped between his parents. The one who takes care of him and the one he used to live with. It would be awful.

3. Sony Recasts Spider-Man for a Solo Movie

So Sony could decide to break their contract with Tom Holland and cast a new actor as Spider-Man. They've done it before. The franchise started with Tobey Maguire in 2002 under Sam Raimi. Then Andrew Garfield came along and they rebooted it. Marvel cast Tom Holland and never looked back.

But Sony could decide Holland has too much baggage and go back to the casting board. It would make it less jarring to see a new Spider-Man actor but if they do it right they could create a whole new Spider-Man.

Holland is great but he's 23-years old now. He was cast as Peter Parker when he was 20 to play a teenager. He can't play that forever. While the British actor is awesome it kind of makes sense to start fresh with a younger actor.

So Sony could go that route but there are a few more options.

4. Sony Could Make Spider-Man a Guest Role

Whether Sony Pictures makes Tom Holland the Sony Spider-Man or not they don't have to make the wallcrawler the star. They could just give him a guest-starring role in a few Sony movies.

For example, Tony Stark has appeared in quite a few movies and a few of them are basically guest roles. Robert Downey Jr. only gets eight minutes of screentime in Spider-Man: Far From Home. Tom Holland has three minutes in Avengers: Endgame. The Sony marvel movies could do the same thing and just have him show up for a few minutes or talk about him without him being there.

It would be sad to have such an amazing superhero sidelined but it would allow Sony to push their main characters like Venom (Tom Hardy) and Morbius (Jared Leto) to the front.

5. Sony Could Get Rid of Spider-Man

The reason Sony ended the first connected universe franchise is everyone thought a Spider-Man movie without Spider-Man would bomb. If they can't use him in a successful solo movie then drop the whole thing.

The Sony Marvel Universe is based around the idea that Sony owns the rights to the wall-crawler and all the secondary characters. So while Marvel has Spider-Man, Aunt May and a few other characters Sony can make characters around villains like Venom and Morbius. All they have to do is take out references to Spider-Man. That's why Venom's alien symbiote comes space instead of Peter Parker.

Fast forward to 2019 and the IP has a new life. The non-Spider-Man film Venom had a total worldwide gross of $856.1 million. The animated movie Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse showed a movie focusing on a different version of Spider-Man, like Miles Morales could succeed. It breathed new life into Sony's hopes for a "Sony Marvel Universe" without Spider-Man.

The studio could decide there's no reason to make another solo Spider-Man movie and keep making the movies focused on secondary characters. They already have Phil Lord and Chris Miller developing Spider-Man TV shows for Sony. Why put the brakes on things to bring in ole' webhead?

We'll know more soon, but fans are going nuts. Hopefully, this is all just a negotiating tactic and the studios get back to the business of making great movies.

[Via Deadline]

What do you think is going to happen to Spider-Man? Let us know in the comments below!

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