The news last week that Sony and Marvel Studios will no longer co-produce Spider-Man films understandably ignited a frenzy as fans struggled with the realization that Tom Holland's Peter Parker won't appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. However, as new information surfaces, it's increasingly difficult to decipher what led to the divorce.
Initial reports suggested the unconventional, four-year-old agreement ended after because Disney pressed to co-finance upcoming Spider-Man films, and increase its share of profits from 5 percent to 50 percent. That led some to assume the split had occurred due to corporate greed. But more recent reporting suggests there may be other factors at play. With that in mind, we break down the numerous issues that have been blamed for the Sony/Marvel split.
Share of Profits
This one has seen numerous changes since the news broke on Tuesday. It was initially thought Disney wanted to increase its share of profits to 50 percent, because it sought to co-finance future films. However, a report shared just days later refuted that by stating Disney had actually asked for 30 percent. While still higher than the initial deal, of 5 percent, it was still a relatively reasonable request. While the fight for profits has been the biggest part of the story thus far, it appears Sony and Marvel entered negotiations as far back as six months to continue to share the rights to Spider-Man. It's entirely possible that, at some point, Disney did ask to become a 50/50 partner. When that didn't work, the studio may have lowered the figure to 30 percent.
This is where things become confusing, because other reports imply Sony was willing to increase Disney's share to 25 percent, and welcome the company as a co-financier. The one request as part of this deal: that Marvel Studios Kevin Feige would continue to consult on the Spider-Man franchise. That's reasonable, and yet, it still wasn't enough to bring the two studios together.
Producer Kevin Feige
Over the past decade, Marvel Studios has established itself as a behemoth at the box office. Its films have been both critical and commercial successes, and while the talent involved -- both behind and in front of the camera -- surely play a part in its success, it ultimately comes down to one person: Kevin Feige. And while Feige oversaw production on both Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home, he will no longer serve as a consultant. The inability to come to a partnership agreement is partly responsible for this, sure, but it's also said Disney simply didn't want to continue to share Feige with a rival studio.
Interestingly enough, unlike the partnership percentage, this report hasn't changed nearly as much. Most outlets seem to be in agreement that Disney wants Feige to focus on Marvel Studios' massive upcoming slate. Along with the recently announced Phase Four, which includes multiple Disney+ series, Feige is also set to oversee new X-Men and Fantastic Four films. With so many projects in development, it's understandable that Disney would want him to oversee those projects instead of those of a rival studio -- even if it's at the cost of losing Spider-Man. After all, Disney now owns the rights to X-Men and the Fantastic Four, and Sony has no intention of giving up the rights to its biggest cash cow.
Fox's final X-Men movie continues to find itself at blame, as Dark Phoenix failed to leave a mark on the box office. In fact, it not only had the lowest opening for an X-Men film to date, but also resulted in a $170 million quarterly loss for Disney following its acquisition of Fox. Because of that, co-chairman Alan Bergman is said to have "insisted" talks between Marvel and Sony come to an end.
As it stands, it appears both parties have come to accept that a deal won't be reached. During an appearance at D23 Expo, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige seemed to indicate Spider-Man's story within the MCU is complete. "We knew there was a finite amount of time that we'd be able to do this," he said, "and we told the story we wanted to tell."
However, depending on who you believe, negotiations between Disney and Sony may be ongoing. For now, Spider-Man is on his way out of the MCU and well onto his way of joining up with Tom Hardy's Venom.
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