Sony Scores Rights to Spider-Man


Sydney Vaupel, Junior Staff Writer

Superheroes have always attracted movie-going audiences for many reasons.  Perhaps it’s their larger-than-life personas or their ability to move audiences to a world where obvious good battles equally obvious evils.  Undoubtedly one of the favorite teen superheroes would have to be Spider-Man. However, the traditional image of Spider-Man may now be in transition.  In recent years, Disney has been working alongside Sony to produce new content regarding the character Spider-Man’s involvement with the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). Since Disney now owns the entirety of the Marvel company, including the comic book, television, and cinematic branches, all contracts regarding anything with the comic characters must be made through the brand known for the “happiest place on earth.”  Sony and Disney made a deal together back in 2015 stating that Disney would be allowed to use Spider-Man in five movies in the MCU. The character ended up quickly being used in those five movies, with young British actor Tom Holland playing the well-known comic book hero, featuring Spider-Man/Peter Parker in: Captain America: Civil War, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, and finally Spider-Man: Far From Home. Together, the companies made a profit of around $8 billion dollars worldwide. But, as of July, 2019 film, when Marvel’s newest movie Spider-Man: Far From Home was released, the contract between the companies had expired. Then, the brands started to go into a dispute over a new contract regarding rights to the Marvel hero. As of now, September 24th, there is no new contract, and the question of what will happen to Spider-Man remains. 

In the past, when Sony had full rights to the character and no alliance with Disney, they made a total of five films. The first three Spider-Man movies had actor Toby Maguire at the mantle of the character, making an estimated total of $3.2 billion dollars worldwide. There were rumors that Sony had plans to make a film series with seven movies, but the rumors were quickly shut down after the announcement of Spider-Man 4 being cancelled. The Toby Maguire era, a time range of 2002-2010, then quickly transitioned into the Andrew Garfield era (2010-2014) with the British actor now playing the spider hero. “I think they’re both good in their own way. I personally like the Tobey Maguire movies more, but I think the Andrew Garfield movies, or at least Andrew Garfield, did a better job portraying spider man more faithfully to the original source material. I still think both are enjoyable,” said Senior Declan O’Hara regarding his opinion of the two Spider-Man actors. Garfield acted in a total of two movies that made approximately $1.5 billion. There was once again another installment planned for Andrew Garfield’s Spider-Man, but the third film was once again cancelled. After the end of Garfield’s era, rumors of Sony and Marvel speaking of a collaboration started to go around, and people grew excited with the thought of a new Spider-Man actually affiliated with Marvel.  (All of the actors who have played Spider-Man under Sony. Left to right: Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Tom Holland) 

Finally, in 2015, Spider-Man finally had his “homecoming” as he was featured in the first film having the character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Tom Holland putting the teenage hero in a new light. But now, Sony and Disney are at a standstill in the negotiations over the character after Sony turned down a 50-50 deal with Disney, something that is seldom done by the superior company. When asked about the rejection of the split deal, Megan Toole said, “I think it is really stupid of Sony to turn down the deal. They would make a lot more money if they were partnered up with Disney.” No official statements or plans have been made by Sony or Disney to continue to push to make another contact regarding Spider-Man. Disney has also been influencing the current director of the Spider-Man movies, Jon Watts, to join their side of the debacle and refuse to direct the next cinematic addition to the current Spider-Man series, which would lead to a primarily Sony-affiliated crew working on the film. Although, there’s been a new development in the situation and the deal negotiations have been put on hold since the well-known electronics company, Apple, has been looking into buying Sony. Apple has stated that if they do end up buying the company, then Disney will immediately win back full rights to Spider-Man and possibly not have to pay to buy back the rights. Many hope that Disney will earn full ownership to Spider-Man and that the character will be allowed to return home to Disney, but nobody truly knows what the future holds for the world’s friendly neighborhood Spider-Man.