Sony-Disney Break: Ins and Outs

Last month, news broke out over the Sony-Disney Deal, where Disney announced their departure from their joint-business venture with pop culture icon Spider-Man.

Here’s the timeline for those those uninformed; in the late 90s, Marvel (prior to being acquired by Disney) sold cinematic rights to Spider-Man. Sony would produce the original Spider-Man trilogy, directed by Sam Raimi (of Evil Dead fame) and the movies would reach massive critical and box-office success (Spider-Man 3 only recently being beaten in the box-office by Spider-Man: Far From Home). They would attempt to reach similar success in 2012 with The Amazing Spider-Man, but the movies lacked a critical hit.

In 2008, the Marvel Cinematic Universe launched with the original Iron-Man, reaching massive success in 2012 with The Avengers (which remains a top ten in the greatest box office hits). Finally, in 2016, Spider-Man was introduced into the MCU in Captain America: Civil War. The mantel of Spidey himself was taken up by the then 19 year old English actor Tom Holland, who quickly became a favorite within the MCU.

Now, the way that the deal worked was that Sony would fund and make complete profit new Spider-Man movies, but Disney would be producing them with near complete creative control, along with making all of the profits from merchandising.

In 2019, Spider-Man: Far From Home was released in theaters riding on the success of Avengers: Endgame and became the greatest box-office hit that Spidey has ever had. Any Spider-Man fan would’ve been experiencing the undeniable golden age of Spider-Man in pop culture, from appearing in the greatest selling movie of all time to his merchandising being bigger than ever. But then it was August 20th.

On August 20th, Disney gave Sony an ultimatum of sorts. They requested half of the box-office profits after the massive success of Far From Home, and when Sony refused, they pulled out of the deal. There was lots of confusion regarding this, most painting Sony as the bad guy, but the situation is much more complicated as it is explicitly Disney that left the deal.

What does Disney leaving the deal mean for Spider-Man?

The new Spider-Man movies cannot reference the MCU at all. They no longer have any creative affiliations and will not be working together. Tom Holland’s Spider-Man is heavily rooted inside the MCU, with his character having lots of growth and development thanks to MCU giants Iron-Man or Captain America. An MCU character, Happy, was even part of the supporting cast in Far From Home.

The breaking off of the Sony-Disney Deal could present a roadblock to realizing Spider-Man’s full potential, as he might have achieved even greater heights than starring in the world’s highest grossing movie, Avengers: Endgame.