Spider-Man is unlikely to make a return appearance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after Sony Picture and Marvel Studios were unable to see eye to eye on the future of the superhero’s big-screen adventures.
Sony, which owns the movie rights to the web slinger, was not willing to let Disney’s Marvel Studios have a greater stake in the future Spider-Man movies. Disney proposed a 50/50 co-finance on the next movie, and a greater share of box office funds. As it stands, Disney earns five per cent of first-dollar gross and all merchandise royalties, while Sony sucks up all other box office revenue.
As such, Disney queried the on-going involvement of Kevin Feige – the super producer who has been credited with leading the MCU to record breaking success – in future Sony Spider-Man projects.
Sony said in a statement that it is “disappointed” with Disney’s decision, as well as making a thinly-veiled reassertion of its ownership of one of Marvel’s most bankable heroes.
“Much of today’s news about Spider-Man has mischaracterised recent discussions about Kevin Feige’s involvement in the franchise,” the studio said. “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.
“We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him – including all their newly added Marvel properties – do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own. Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue.”
The past two Spider-Man movies were financed by Sony and co-produced by Marvel Studios. An amicable agreement meant Spider-Man could also appear in other movies from the MCU, including the blockbuster Avengers titles. The cross-over appearances worked well for both studios: more screen time for the hero has established Tom Holland, who plays Spider-Man in the most recent movies, as a fan-favourite. But the recent fracas may mean this is no longer the case.
Sony has plans for at least two further Spider-Man feature lengths.