Marvel’s superhero films could lose their most famous Spider-Man character, played by Tom Holland, after Sony confirmed Tuesday that talks over its deal to share Spider-Man with the Disney-owned studio have broken down.
Sony has the feature film rights to Spider-Man in a deal established before Disney took over Marvel and the two companies have collaborated following their 2015 deal that led to Spider-Man appearing in Marvel’s Cinematic Universe.
The partnership has now broken up following Disney and Sony’s failure to agree on financial terms for future films involving Spider-Man.
Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige — 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, which broke the news.
This makes it “almost certain” that the character Spider-Man will be absent from crossover appearances in future Marvel films too, according to Hollywood Reporter journalist Graeme McMillan.
“Ultimately, this is far more of a problem for Marvel than it is for Sony,” he writes, noting how Spider-Man had become “the face of the Marvel Cinematic Universe” by the franchise’s most recent movie.
According to Deadline, Marvel parent Disney had wanted to significantly increase its financial stake in future Spider-Man films, while Sony refused to alter the existing terms.
In financial terms, Spider-Man is one of the most successful superheroes in movie history.
Holland’s iteration of Spider-Man has appeared in a total of five Marvel Studios and Sony films 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.
Spider-Man also appeared in 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, as well as a standalone film centred on popular Spider-Man villain Venom.
In a statement provided to The Hollywood Reporter, a Sony spokesperson states: “Much of today’s (Tuesday) news about Spider-Man has mischaracterized recent discussions about Kevin Feige’s involvement in the franchise.
“We are disappointed, but respect Disney’s decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live-action Spider-Man film. We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him – including all their newly added Marvel properties – do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own. Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue.”