Spider-Man is under threat of eviction from the Marvel Cinematic Universe if the two companies controlling the character’s future can’t come to an agreement over producing and revenue sharing. In 2015, Marvel and Sony brokered a deal to share Spider-Man that involved Disney co-financing Spidey movies in exchange for a share of profits and for use of the web-slinger in its sprawling network of interconnected films. That original deal ran out after this summer’s smash hit Spider-Man: Far From Home — which recently became the highest grossing movie in Sony history — and the two studios have apparently been at odds for months over what a new operating agreement would look like. But news broke today that Disney and Sony aren’t finding their way to a middle ground, and if the outcome is a no-deal between those parties, Marvel Studios would lose access to Tom Holland’s Peter Parker for its future MCU story lines, and Sony would lose access to the ultrasuccessful guiding hand of Kevin Feige and the Disney machine behind him.
Deadline was the first to report on the troubled negotiations, saying that the conflict has, naturally, boiled down to money. And considering how lucrative these super movies are, we are talking about lots and lots of money. Per Deadline, “It’s easy to understand why both sides refused to give ground. Disney asked that future Spider-Man films be a 50/50 co-financing arrangement between the studios, and there were discussions that this might extend to other films in the Spider-Man universe.” Sony reportedly turned that offer down outright and “just simply didn’t want to share its biggest franchise. Sony proposed keeping the arrangement going under the current terms where Marvel receives in the range of five percent of first dollar gross, sources said. Disney refused.”
Before Disney tapped into the Iron Man–led Marvel Cinematic Universe that has dominated the global box office for a decade, it sold off some of its superhero assets during the leaner days long ago. That’s how it lost X-Men, Fantastic Four, and Spider-Man, but thanks to Disney acquiring Fox, the Mouse House now once again owns all other those heroes — besides Spidey. The trouble for Sony is that Spider-Man struggled in the Andrew Garfield era while the MCU became a singular force in film, and Disney is seen as having saved the Spider-Man property by bringing the character into its Infinity Saga. Sony understandably wants better terms for itself concerning its extremely profitable asset, and Disney takes up such a monstrous share of Hollywood at this point it makes sense the company would be comfortable insisting on rigid and more lucrative terms for a new deal — even if that risks losing Spider-Man entirely. (Reporting by BuzzFeed reiterates that 50-50 financing would mean 50-50 profit sharing, too.) It’s also worth noting that Marvel already owns the merchandising for Spider-Man.