Talks between Disney-owned Marvel and rival Sony to ‘share’ Spider-Man broke down and it could mean that Marvel’s superhero films may be without their famous character.
Marvel movies have grossed $22 billion at the global box office and British actor Tom Holland’s Spider-Man has become a central figure in the most lucrative franchise in film history.
However, Sony owns the character’s movie rights even though Spider-Man has for decades been the ‘crown jewel’ of the Marvel comic book empire.
Spider-Man only began appearing in Marvel’s cinematic universe after an almost unprecedented, and still high secretive 2015 deal stuck between the Hollywood giants with the two studios co-producing and splitting profits across the films.
Disney and Sony’s partnership broke up following their failure to agree on financial terms for future films.
Kevin Feige, Marvel Studios boss widely credited with the phenomenal boom in comic book movies of the past decade will no longer produce Sony’s standalone Spider-Man films according to Deadline.
Hollywood Reporter journalist Graeme McMillan said it is ‘almost certain’ the Spider-Man character will be absent from crossover appearances in future Marvel films too.
“Ultimately, this is far more of a problem for Marvel than it is for Sony,” he wrote, noting how Spider-Man had become “the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe” by the franchise’s most recent movie.
Marvel parent Disney had wanted to increase its financial stake in future Spider-Man films while Sony refused to alter the existing terms, Deadline reported.
In financial terms, Spider-Man is one of the most successful superheroes in movie history.
Holland’s version of Spider-Man has appeared in five Marvel Studios and Sony films movies since the collaboration deal, which collectively grossed almost $8 billion worldwide.
These span from his introduction in Captain America: Civil War to a starring role in the series’ most recent outing, Spider-Man: Far From Home.
They also included Avengers: Endgame, the biggest-grossing movie of all time.
At Comic-Con last month, Marvel Studios set out a timeline of films and television shows scheduled for the next two years including new outings for popular characters Thor, Black Widow, Doctor Strange and Loki – but none featuring Spider-Man.
Sony last year produced an Oscar-winning Spider-Man animation separate from Marvel Studios’ domain, and a standalone film centred on popular Spider-Man villain Venom.
Neither Sony nor Disney has publicly commented on the reports.