Tom Holland debuted as Spider-Man in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, christening the unconventional co-production deal between Marvel Studios and Sony Pictures. Under the agreement, Peter Parker would become part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Marvel Studios would produce a Spider-Man reboot (2017's Spider-Man: Homecoming), and Sony, which holds the film rights to the hero, would retain the box office and ultimate creative control.
The deal has paid off in spades for both studios: Marvel gains access to, arguably, its best-known superhero and reaps the rewards of increased toy sales (the company controls the web-slinger's merchandising rights); and Sony gets two hit Spider-Man films, and counting. The latter is underscored by Spider-Man: Far From Home's $1.109 billion worldwide box office, which unseated Skyfall as Sony's highest-grossing film ever. But that record also seemingly raises a question for Sony: Does it continue with this highly lucrative arrangement with Marvel, or leverage the success of its Spider-Man franchise to bolster its fledgling "Spider-Verse," or "Venom-Verse," by bringing the wall-crawler into films like the Venom sequel and Morbius, The Living Vampire?
The Billion-Dollar Escape
There are already indications the Spider-Man deal has already been extended, and a recent report suggested it would automatically extend if Spider-Man: Far From Home grossed over one billion dollars. To be clear: This did not say for sure that Sony would walk away, only that it had the option to leave if the film did not break the billion dollar mark.
Whether the report was accurate is now, apparently, a moot point. Spider-Man: Far From Home has since grossed well over $1.1 billion, and is still bringing in money, months after its release. It is safe to say that the Marvel deal should at least extend for one more film, but beyond that...?
... Yes. It's safe to say that the Marvel Deal will continue even longer, for a few key reasons.
It Makes Money For both Marvel and Sony
Spider-Man films have grossed far more since the deal with Marvel than before. When reviewing every Spider-Man film to date, Spider-Man: Far From Home and Spider-Man: Homecoming are the first and third highest grossing Spider-Man solo films to date, grossing $1.1 billion and $880.2 million, respectfully. The second ranked film is Spider-Man 3, which came out, as of this writing, twelve years before. Before that, The Amazing Spider-Man and its sequel grossed $757.9 million and $709 million, respectfully.
The Marvel Studios brand helped restore confidence in a franchise that had suffered from diminishing returns for a decade. The only Spider-Man film to gross less than The Amazing Spider-Man 2 since the Marvel deal is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which was both animated and lower budgeted than most other Spider-Man properties. Of course, it also won an Oscar for Best Animated Picture.
The Sony Multiverse
When Sony had full reign over the Spider-Man property, it constantly attempted to create a cinematic universe for Spider-Man in the vein of the MCU. These plans, however, ultimately killed the fledgling Amazing Spider-Man franchise before it could get past its sophomore effort. With Marvel Studios handling work on the franchise, things are different, and Sony has been able to enact its plans more successfully than ever before.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is not a film that could have existed if Sony had insisted on using it as the springboard for creating a cinematic universe. The studio became too hands-on with Mark Webb's series, focusing more on setting upspin-off sequels rather than allowing he movie to tell a rewarding, fulfilling narrative on its own.
Furthermore, thanks to the financial success of Venom, Sony was actually able to successfully create the long-longed for side universe on top of Spider-Verse and the MCU. These characters -- Venom, Morbius and Carnage -- will occupy their own space. Any creative (or cynical) motivation to turn Spider-Man into the center of a shared universe has been replaced by, well, a Venom-verse. So from Sony's perspective, what does it matter if Marvel continues partner with them to further guide Spider-Man in an increasingly successful series of films?
That Said, There Are Some Concerns
It is clear that Sony and Marvel both would benefit from extending their current deal. The question remains, however, if Sony or Marvel will want to alter the deal's details to be further in favor of one over the other.
Ultimately, Venom might be a sticking point. While promoting the film, Sony's Amy Pascal repeatedly hinted that Venom was part of the MCU, only to have Marvel's Kevin Feige repeatedly state that no, Venom is not. While the two parties seem to have gotten past that, it's possible a similar battle could come up during any negotiations to extend the current deal, particularly if Sony insists on bringing Holland's web-slinger into any future Venom projects.
Ultimately, the studios will need to find some sort of common ground for the current arrangement to live on in some form or another, and it's likely they will. The current deal has brought Spider-Man back into the limelight, better than ever, while pulling in billions of dollars. Whatever Marvel and Sony will ask for in renegotiating their contract, ultimately, money talks, and there's too much upside to maintaining their current relationship to reasonably expect it to fall apart.