The Marvel Cinematic Universe is a 10-year juggernaut that exists because Marvel wanted to produce movies on its own, but didn’t hold the rights to some of its most recognizable characters, like Spider-Man and the X-Men. But it turns out the path to the studio owes at least some part of its success to the shortsightedness of Sony Pictures.
A excerpt from The Wall Street Journal writer Ben Fritz’s upcoming book The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies reveals that before Sony acquired film rights to Spider-Man, Marvel Entertainment offered the studio every character — Iron Man, Ant-Man, Thor and so on — for $25 million. Yair Landau, who at the time was in charge of securing film rights, sent the offer up the chain at Sony, only for it to be immediately shot down: “Nobody gives a shit about any of the other Marvel characters. Go back and do a deal for only Spider-Man.”
From there, the story wrote itself. Marvel eventually opted to produce 2008’s Iron Man, and now the studio controls one of the biggest film franchises in the world. The karmic wheel came back for Sony in 2014 following the disappointing release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. Marvel CEO Ike Perlmutter met with then-Sony motion picture chief Amy Pascal in summer 2014 for lunch to discuss the idea of Marvel producing the next Spider-film. Offended, Pascal jokingly told him to “get the fuck out,” and threw her sandwich at him.
That agreement nevertheless became a reality in early 2015, resulting in the introduction of Peter Parker into the MCU with Captain America: Civil War, and the co-production of 2017’s Spider-Man: Homecoming, and its upcoming sequel. Tom Holland’s web-slinger will next been seen in May in Avengers: Infinity War.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War stars Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Benedict Wong, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland and Anthony Mackie. The film opens May 4.
You can pre-order The Big Picture, which releases on March 6, here.
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