A few years back, the character of Spider-Man was on the ropes. Audiences had grown sick of his backstory, and were craving something a little less same-y. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 was the straw that broke the camel’s back on that one, and was proof that not everyone could nail a shared universe as well as Marvel Studios. It wasn’t long before it was announced that Spider-Man would once again be rebooted in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, marking a nearly unprecedented move of studio cooperation between Sony and Marvel Studios.
Sony would retain the film rights to Spider-Man and his entire rogues gallery, but would allow Marvel Studios to utilize the character in their films — with Sony’s involvement, of course. This seemed to be a win-win for everyone. Audiences had immense faith in Marvel’s track record (and still do to this day), and it would give them access to their most popular character ever. This seemed like a match made in heaven, and after Spider-Man made a pleasant splash in Captain America: Civil War, viewers were more than ready to see him laced throughout the MCU for the foreseeable future.
Yet now, months before the second film in their MCU deal (Spider-Man: Homecoming), it sounds as though we may be already seeing hints of Sony going off in their own direction. The past few weeks, news has been dropping about an entire Venom universe that consists of Venom, Silver Sable, and Black Cat (for starters, at least), and now, while at CinemaCon, Spider-Man: Homecoming producer (and former Sony Pictures chief) Amy Pascal made some statements that seem to indicate that the marriage between Marvel Studios and Sony may be a short-lived one.
Here’s what Pascal had to say:
“One of the things that I think is so amazing about this experience is that you don't have studios deciding to work together to make a film very often.
“In fact, it may never happen again--after we do the sequel.
“Because Sony and Disney and Marvel all decided that the right thing to do was to allow Peter Parker and Spider-Man to be in the MCU, and to work with the Marvel guys and have them produce this film, and I think that was a very rare thing for three companies to do and a very brilliant thing for them to decide to do because there are only so many stories that you know you can tell again and again and again about Spidey, and this is something that we would never been able to do in any other way. So, it was a very selfless thing that was very smart on the part of all the companies.”
Now, let’s break down that first part. On the surface level, yes it sure sounds like Pascal is hinting at the possibility that they may not re-up their deal after Spider-Man: Homecoming 2. But let’s think about this logically. This is something of an unprecedented deal between two big giant studios. Did we for a second think that it was one that would exist in perpetuity? No, that’s not really how business works. They set a contract, fulfill the contract, and re-assess once it is fulfilled. We see it with all the actors in the MCU, and in many ways, this deal between Marvel Studios and Sony is no different.
Even assuming Sony has no intentions of following through with another contract after Spider-Man: Homecoming 2, we also have to keep in mind that the film isn’t even on the Marvel slate yet. At the earliest, we’re probably looking at a 2020-2022 release, which is many movies and another three to five years away.
So no, I don’t think Pascal is hinting at a broken marriage at this point, though I will concede it seems like a bit of a careless way to phrase her thoughts. I think she was trying to compliment the studios in their ability to put their own interests aside for the betterment of a product, but instead it came across as her throwing her weight around.
And it’s not like that would be out of character for the studio. Sony was in an unenviable position with Spider-Man a few years ago, and for all we know, this deal with Spider-Man could have very well saved the character. Yet, at every chance they get it seems like the producers and execs are perfectly willing to throw their weight around as if they’re in a position of power. Yes, they have one huge chip to play: Spider-Man. But make no mistake, it takes more than an A-list character to make a successful film.
That being said, it can’t be denied that yes, Sony does have the power to opt out of any future deals with Marvel after that sequel. But we can’t possibly think any studio is in a position to think about that just yet. We still are too early in the game, and there are far too many factors to consider — factors that won’t take effect for nearly a handful more years.
What do you think of Pascal’s statements? Is there something more going on behind the scenes, or was it just a poorly-worded phrase? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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SOURCES: CosmicBook News