Spider-Man MCU Exit Confirmed as Sony and Marvel End Agreement
After a homecoming to the Marvel Universe, Spider-Man is out on his own once more. A reported “inability” to reach “new terms” between Disney-owned Marvel Studios and Sony have resulted in a break-up that will see Tom Holland continue his role as Spider-Man in new movies that will not take place in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
On Tuesday, Deadline broke the news that Marvel and Sony have ended a working relationship to include Spider-Man in the MCU. The site reports it happened “because of an inability by Disney and Sony Pictures to reach new terms that would have given the former a co-financing stake going forward.”
Update 1: Variety reports that the deal isn’t totally dead yet and an agreement between Marvel and Sony may still be reached. Hang tight. Original article continues below.
Update 2: In a series of tweets late on Tuesday night, Sony Pictures appeared to confirm the news of Spider-Man’s split from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, pinning the blame on Disney and Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige. “We are disappointed, but respect Disney’s decision,” Sony wrote, adding, “We hope this might change in the future.” Marvel Studios/Disney have not yet released an official statement. The original article continues below.
In other words, Disney would have gained more creative control and revenue from what is still a Sony franchise, and Sony refused. Sony offered to keep the current deal going forward, where Disney gets all merchandise revenue and 5% of first dollar gross. It appears that just wasn’t enough money for Disney, as the studio similarly “refused.”
Deadline further confirms the split means Spider-Man is out of the MCU shared universe. Writes the site, “A dispute that has taken place over the past few months at the top of Disney and Sony has essentially nixed Feige, and the future involvement of Marvel from the Spider-Man universe, sources said.”
A reported two more live-action Spider-Man films are in the pipeline that will be directed by Jon Watts and star Tom Holland. It is now understood these movies will not feature ties to the MCU or cameos from other characters.
Sony is said to be required to make a new Spider-Man movie “every three or so years” in order to keep the rights, or else relinquish them back to Disney/Marvel. It is unknown at this juncture if Sony will feature Spider-Man in its expanding universe with Venom and next year’s Morbius starring Jared Leto.
In 2015, after over a decade with diminishing returns, Sony announced a deal that seemed too good to be true for Marvel fans. The studio arranged with Marvel to introduce a new live-action Spider-Man into the MCU/Avengers franchise, with revenue split in specific ways that both studios saw as beneficial.
This led to British actor Tom Holland cast as Spider-Man, who first appeared in Captain America: Civil War in 2016 before starring in Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017), Avengers: Infinity War (2018), Avengers: Endgame (2019), and most recently, Spider-Man: Far From Home.
The latter film alone grossed over a billion dollars worldwide, which is rumored to have been the bottom threshold figure in order to continue the franchise. All the while, Sony continued to experiment with its own productions without Marvel: In 2018, the studio released both Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. While the former Tom Hardy vehicle grossed an impressive $856 million worldwide, it was the latter that garnered critical acclaim, winning the Oscar for “Best Animated Feature” at this year’s ceremonies.
It’s been a banner year for Spider-Man, having won Oscars and grossing virtually all the money in not one, but two major movies. Now, as Sony is confident it can strike on its own with Spidey, and Marvel eager to introduce new characters (not to mention another homecoming with X-Men and the Fantastic Four), it seems that Spider-Man is leaving home for the final time.