‘Spiderman: Far From Home’ Better Make a Billion Dollars…or Else
Art and Experience: New revelations about the Sony/Marvel deal.
By now, you’ve probably seen the latest MCU movie starring Tom Holland’s version of Spiderman. As of this writing, the film had grossed nearly $859M worldwide and it’s only been out for 2 weeks.
With all the money that the MCU movies make, you’d probably expect this one to break a billion dollars at the box office, easy. Good news: Marvel (owned by Disney) expects the same thing, and they’ve written into their deal with Sony.
A new report from Richard Rushfield, journalist and writer of The Ankler newsletter, has revealed some key information about the Sony/Marvel deal that may surprise you.
According to Rushfield’s reporting, if Spiderman: Far From Home doesn’t make a billion dollars or more at the global box office, all rights to the Spiderman franchise would revert back to Sony.
What does this mean for your friendly neighborhood corporate mega-media-conglomerate? Let’s find out.
So how did we get to the point where Sony has to partner with Marvel in order to hit a box office slam dunk like Spiderman: Far From Home? Let’s take a web-sling down memory lane.
Before Marvel Studios became a thing, it was just Marvel. The company would license their superhero properties to whichever studio was willing to pay for them, and most of the license deals said that as long as the studios kept cranking out those movies, they could keep the rights to the characters.
That changed when Marvel formed Marvel Studios and announced itself to the world with 2005’s Iron Man. But Sony still had control of the Spiderman franchise after acquiring the rights in 1999, and the studio had been working hard to keep it that way. Spidey gotta Spidey, so we were blessed with Andrew Garfield as Peter Parker. Twice.
The Garfield-Parker movies were colossally expensive and underperformed compared to their budgets. Then-head of Sony, Amy Pascal, knew it was time for a change. She decided to reboot Spiderman again, but this time, why not ask the experts for help? She struck a deal with Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios, to share Spiderman.
Here’s how the deal worked: Sony would pay for, distribute, and market the movie. Marvel Studios would do most of the creative stuff. In exchange, Marvel Studios got to throw Tom Holland’s character into the MCU mix. Everybody wins.
With Great Franchise…
Why would Marvel Studios agree to a deal like this? A few reasons. First, being able to incorporate Spiderman into the MCU means that people who see Sony’s movie will want to see him in his other Marvel movie appearances. This turns Spiderman: Far From Homeinto a two-hour trailer for the rest of the MCU.
Second, Marvel still owns all the merchandising rights. The more people love Spiderman movies, the more they’ll want to buy Spiderman silly string, back scratchers, and underwear. It’s in Marvel’s best interest for Sony’s Spiderman to succeed.
…Comes Even Greater Franchise?
But the biggest reason to ensure Spiderman’s success as a franchise may not become apparent for years. Disney has been on a buying spree lately, acquiring Marvel, Lucasfilm, and most recently Fox. The Mouse House has shown no reservations about shelling out cash for a rival studio, and there have been persistent rumors over the past decade that Sony was considering selling off its film studio after a string of high-profile flops.
It’s just a guess, but I’d say that Disney has held discussions about buying Sony at some point in the future. (Of course, Disney isn’t the only one sniffing around Sony.) Getting the rights to Spiderman, as well as his rogue’s gallery of villains, could really spice up the MCU.