Sony Does Damage Control after Disney’s Marvel Split amid Fan Backlash
Originally published on: CCN Markets
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August 21, 2019
— Hollywood Reporter (@THR) August 21, 2019
The studio has failed to come to terms with Disney over the fate of the Spider-Man movie franchise. Kevin Feige, the president of Marvel Studios (a subsidiary of Disney), won’t be producing any more Spider-Man movies after Sony decided to get greedy and didn’t give the super-producer a bigger co-financing stake in future films.
Much of today’s 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. (1/3)
— Sony Pictures (@SonyPictures) August 21, 2019
The bone of contention
Deadline reports that Disney was asking for a 50/50 co-financing arrangement between Marvel and Sony. But Sony played hardball and decided that it won’t give Feige a bigger share of the pie. Marvel reportedly gets 5 percent of the first-dollar gross, which means that it was getting a percentage of the gross box office revenue.
So Marvel Studios would have received only $55 million from “Spider-Man: Far From Home” based on the current engagement and the movie’s $1.1 billion worldwide gross, which has made it Sony’s highest-grossing film ever.
Not surprisingly, Kevin Feige wanted a bigger share of the pie as he brought his expertise and Marvel characters to rejuvenate the Spider-Man franchise. A co-financing agreement on an equal footing would have given Kevin Feige and Marvel a bigger stake in the profits generated by future Spider-Man films.
Deadline adds that Kevin Feige wanted in on other films in the Spider-Man universe as well. Sony decided that he was asking for too much, and Disney had no hesitation in pulling its man out of the hot seat.
Live look at literally every Spider-Man fan right now pic.twitter.com/tNWCILYjDH
— Brandon Davis (@BrandonDavisBD) August 20, 2019
Spider-Man won’t be the same without Kevin Feige, and Sony will regret it
The Spider-Man movie franchise got off to a solid start back in 2002 when the first Tobey Maguire movie hit the theaters. But once Tobey Maguire relinquished the lead role and Andrew Parker stepped in, the franchise stopped ringing the box office registers as the first three films did.
But things changed when Kevin Feige entered the fray, bringing his bunch of MCU characters to raise Spider-Man’s stock and delivering the franchise’s first billion-dollar movie. The two films before Feige’s arrival were made on a higher budget, but they were not as critically acclaimed as the Rotten Tomatoes score shows us.
This leaves no doubt that Kevin Feige rejuvenated Spider-Man and set the cash registers ringing for Sony.
Sony tries to save face
Sony feels sad that the partnership has ended. EW quoted a Sony Pictures spokesperson as saying:
“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…
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.”
However, this is nothing more than a face-saving exercise from Sony. The studio is blaming Feige’s newly found commitments for Marvel’s pull-out of the Spider-Man franchise:
“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.”
It remains to be seen if Sony can indeed go on and replicate that success without Kevin Feige and MCU’s mojo, as the new Spider-Man movies will probably lack that X-factor that the last two films had.
What’s more, the exit of the web-slinging superhero from the MCU will lead to a backlash from Marvel fans, who are already threatening to boycott Sony.
— Digital Spy (@digitalspy) August 21, 2019
Such a movement from Marvel fans can be another blow to Sony’s business. Those who became fans of the Spider-Man franchise after Feige entered the picture might stop going to theaters thanks to this divorce, ensuring that future movies don’t set the box office on fire like the ones with Marvel did.