Fans of Spider-Man are spinning over the news that their favorite hero may be out of Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe due to a financial dispute—though Stan Lee's daughter thinks it might be for the best. Deadline broke the story Tuesday, but understanding what has allegedly transpired means going back to 1985.
- That's the year Sony acquired the rights to the Marvel character. In 2015, it inked a partnership with Disney and Marvel that would allow Spider-Man to be used in MCU films like Avengers: Endgame, reports the AP. With Marvel now back in the game, it allowed Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige to serve as a producer on stand-alone Spider-Man movies like July's Far From Home—which is currently the highest-grossing film ever in Sony Pictures' history.
- So, yeah, there's a lot of money at play. When the deal was made in 2015, the terms had Sony taking on 100% of production costs; Disney got 5% of first-day ticket sales, per CNBC, and held all merchandising rights. Disney reportedly wanted to change that, with it taking on 50% of the production costs—and getting 50% of the profit.
- Per Deadline, "Sony declined to meet those terms or even counter with anything worth considering." And so Feige (who is heavily involved in the creation of a Marvel channel for the upcoming Disney Plus) and Marvel pulled out of being involved in any future movies.
- Sony suggested Feige was too busy for the work, tweeting, it was "disappointed" but understood "that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him – including all their newly added Marvel properties," created a time crunch.
- An actor who's part of Marvel's Avengers, Jeremy Renner, then pressed Sony on Instagram, per the Guardian. "Hey @sonypictures we want Spider-Man back to @therealstanlee and @marvel please, thank you"
- The daughter of Spider-Man co-creator Lee, however, appears to back Sony. "No one could have treated my father worse than Marvel and Disney's executives," Joan Celia Lee tells TMZ, noting none reached out to her following her father's 2018 death. "Marvel and Disney seeking total control of my father's creations must be checked and balanced by others who, while still seeking to profit, have genuine respect for [him] and his legacy," she adds.
- Per the Guardian, the breakup means a "substantial plotting headache" for the companies, explaining "[Tom] Holland’s Spider-Man had appeared in five Marvel Cinematic Universe films to date, and Far From Home teed up the next major Avengers storyline."
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