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The Spider-Man Standoff Is Already Looking Bad for Sony

By Mike Redmond | Film | August 22, 2019 |

By Mike Redmond | Film | August 22, 2019 |


Because Twitter is dark and full of terrors, a war has already broken out over the Marvel vs. Sony Spider-Man debacle, so I just want to lay my cards on the table before I’m accused of working for either side. (How I survived the Great Chicken Sandwich War unscathed, I’ll never know.) Anyway, here goes:

They’re f*cking movies.

Okay, that was a bit reductive because escapism is more important than ever these days. But this post is going to lean toward Marvel Studios having a stronger position than Sony because, well, that’s just how it is. Like I said yesterday when Jeremy Renner somehow didn’t end this whole debacle with a sweet bro-country jam, Marvel and Sony are most likely going to work things out. It’s in the best interest of both studios and audiences who they’re hoping to fleece for years to come. But in the meantime, Sony’s position is not looking great.

A few hours after Deadline dropped the bomb that Spider-Man talks had gone south, their initial coverage was heavily updated and some of that key information has been lost in the mix. Specifically, the fact that Deadline reported that Sony had two Spider-Man movies ready to go with Tom Holland and director Jon Watts in place. That is not the case.

Watts is in the wind right now, and in an extensive breakdown of the negotiations, THR has confirmed reports that Holland only has one film left in his contract. That’s all bad news for Sony. On top of that, should they secure Watts and make one more film with Holland that’s quarantined from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, guess what? That’s basically a reboot, and with an actor who could very easily bounce depending on his loyalty to Marvel or the fact that he just starred in a Spider-Man film that failed to connect with audiences because everything that made his version of the character unique (Read: His deep connection to the MCU) has been ethered. And if Holland leaves, surprise! Sony is rebooting yet again.

According to THR, the problem is Sony is very much feeling itself after the success of Venom and Into the Spider-Verse, yet oddly dismissive of the fact that Marvel served them two back-to-back Spider-Man movies that crushed at the box office. Far From Home just cleared a billion dollars last month thanks in no small part to the fact that it had a massive lead-in from Avengers: Endgame. Needless to say, analysts are shaking their head at how the hell the situation ever reached this point.

“If the two sides don’t come to a compromise, it’s a lose-lose for everybody,” argues Shawn Robbins, chief analyst for industry website Boxoffice. “Marvel won’t be able to resolve the cliffhanger in future movies, which is saying something when it’s their most popular hero. And for Sony, who has had success, Far From Home doesn’t get to a billion dollars without Feige and Marvel’s involvement.”

Adds Robbins, “The other big question is, ‘How are fans are going to react to a Tom Holland Spider-Man movie that is not set in the MCU?’ That is a roll of the dice that no studio should take.”

Here’s my read, but keep in mind, I’m half dumb. THR’s breakdown already reports that Marvel wants a 30 percent cut going forward, which is considerably less than the 50 percent ask that’s been going around. It’s also not an unreasonable amount considering Marvel’s success righting the Spider-Man ship after Sony rammed it into several icebergs. What I feel is the major hurdle is that Sony wants to create its own cinematic universe where it can smash Spidey up against its studio-owned characters. Particularly Venom. However, what Sony would really love is if Spider-Man is still being pumped up by the MCU and popping up to legitimize its spin-offs. That is something that Kevin Feige has been against. He didn’t want Tom Holland anywhere near Venom, but conceding on that front might be the key to putting this whole debacle to bed.

Of course, that raises an interesting question of how many of these things Holland is willing to appear in at a time when his contract is just about up and he’s already expressed apprehension about playing the character forever. Fortunately, there’s an easy solution, and in my dork-ass opinion it’s the future of Spider-Man that dovetails perfectly with an increasingly diverse MCU:

Miles Morales, baby. Make it happen.

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Mike is a Staff Contributor living in Pennsyltucky. You can follow him on Twitter.

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