Spider-Man cancellation is Disney’s fault, not Sony’s


Marvel/Disney have failed to extend their Spider-Man licensing deal after renegotiations with Sony went south. Tom Holland will not be returning as Spidey, at least in the MCU.

A lot of people are up-in-arms about the news of the Spider-Man cancellation after the deal fell apart at the last Disney-Sony meeting. It seems as though Sony has been painted as the villain in the deal as most people, wrongly, point the fingers at them and blame them for the collapse. But the Spider-Man cancellation is Disney’s fault.

Sony commented on the Spider-Man cancellation news creating even more confusion. “Much of today’s news about Spider-Man has mischaracterized recent discussions about Kevin Feige’s involvement in the franchise. We are disappointed, but respect Disney’s decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live action Spider-Man film.” Although this comment does not implicitly state that Spider-Man won’t be in the MCU, it is strongly implied.

Disney’s decision

It was Disney who walked out of the deal, so it was their decision not to continue with Spider-Man in the MCU. Disney are reportedly playing hard-ball with their negotiations of the Spider-Man IP by demanding a 50/50 split of the box office profits.

They believed that the ball was on their side of the court after the record breaking success of Avengers: Endgame. Endgame is now the highest grossing film of all time after earning USD$2,795,253,905 in the box office worldwide. 50% of this potential profit might seem like a pretty great deal, but, in reality, Disney’s Spider-Man movies are barely even making a third of that. Spider-Man: Homecoming only made USD$880,166,350 according to The Numbers.

Disney allegedly lied about profits.

But Spider-Man is probably the most popular, and loved, superhero in the Marvel Universe, why aren’t his movies making as much as the others?

An ex-Disney accountant filed a SEC claim that alleged their books were cooked. Sandra Kuba worked for 18 years in Disney’s revenue operations unit until she was fired in 2017. She alleges that Disney’s revenue was over-reported by as much as $6 billion in a single year.

Disney responded to the allegations calling them baseless and untrue. Furthermore, an investigation concluded that they could not find any evidence of this. Regardless, this kind of allegation is damaging to Disney especially when people already suspect them of padding their numbers.

Why Sony rejected deal

Spider-Man isn’t holding a candle to the rest of the MCU movies. Apart from Ant-Man, Spider-Man is the lowest grossing MCU superhero. And that does not make any sense. Perhaps it isn’t doing as badly as we believe, and maybe we are seeing an accurate representation of what Disney box office look like across the board. But these conspiracy theories aside, the new 50/50 deal, although it may seem fair, is just not worth it for Sony.

All previous Sony Spider-Man films have made the same at the box office as the Disney version. And then there is also the home media sales which Sony do not get a cut off. The Amazing Spider-Man made USD$757,890,267 in the worldwide box office and $113,145,859 of home media sales as of August, 2014. Taking the deal would mean that Sony is halving the value of their Spider-Man I.P.

The last deal had a 95-5% split, with the larger portion going to Sony. Obviously this is not a beneficial deal for Disney/Marvel and they understandably want to renegotiate the terms, but they were in no position to make demands. And, as a result, they lost Spider-Man.

The future of Spider-Man

All in all, the only people who truly benefited from the Sony-Disney deal was us, the fans. We all wanted to see Spidey fight alongside his Avenger buddies, but that came at the cost of both studios making sacrifices. We knew this deal wouldn’t last, but at least Disney could have stuck with the deal for one more film to conclude Peter Parker’s story. But no, by playing hard-ball they’ve deprived us of that.

Tom Holland in Venom 2: Let There Be Carnage

It was Disney who walked away from the current deal. Sony had every interest in continuing, but they weren’t willing to just give away an extra USD$400, 000, 000 and extend their agreement. That’s just absurd. So, where does that leave Spider-Man?

It is looking unlikely their will be a third Spidey film in the MCU. With that being said, we might see Spidey make one last cameo in an upcoming movie in the 4th phase, but that might be his final appearance. There is a small, almost microscopic, chance that Sony might pick up where Marvel left off and produce the final Spider-Man film starring Tom Holland, but I wouldn’t count on it. The most likely scenario is Marvel will kill him off and replace him with another, similar, hero.

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