Venom's success at the box office is a good news/bad news situation for fans.
Specifically, it's good news if you have been enjoying the Sony Spider-Man movies, and bad news if you were hoping that Venom would crash and burn, forcing the studio to hand the Spidey rights over to Marvel Studios for good.
Of course, as much as some fans like to daydream about Spidey being a permanent resident of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, that was never actually very likely to happen; the Spider-Man franchise has been such a huge hit for Sony that even the movies that were considered "failures" made hundreds of millions of dollars -- enough to encourage the studio to try again rather than taking a break.
Venom got beat up by reviewers, but it has been generally popular with audiences, and has grossed over half a billion worldwide, breaking a handful of October records along the way. The film set up a likely sequel by introducing Woody Harrelson as Cletus Kasady/Carnage in the post-credits sequence, and Sony is already developing movies for Kraven the Hunter and Morbius the Living Vampire that will likely not include Marvel Cinematic Universe characters, even if they fold Spider-Man in.
"If it had failed, there is a chance Sony would have definitely returned to the bargaining table with Disney," Jeff Bock, a senior box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, told Business Insider. "Now, that's up in the air."
Bock suggested that as long as audiences continue to support Sony's Spider-Man projects financially, it does not matter what reviews are like; Disney will likely have to buy Sony outright (as they did with 20th Century Fox recently) to get Spider-Man and his amazing friends back.
If any of the Spider-spinoffs use Peter Parker, it is not immediately clear whether they would use Tom Holland or recast. Certainly the introduction of a multiverse in Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, which hits theaters later this year, could help pave the way for fans understanding two guys playing Peter in live action at the same time.8comments
There are also persistent reports that DC will have characters like Batman and The Joker in different film franchises, depicted by different actors, at the same time. Meanwhile, Superman and The Flash already have TV and feature film actors playing the same characters simultaneously in different universes.
It has been almost five years since Marc Webb's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 disappointed at the box office -- an event that collapsed Sony's fledgling plans for a cinematic universe built around Spider-Man and his supporting characters. Rather than start from scratch for the seocond time in half a decade, Sony turned to Marvel and struck a deal that would allow them to retain the Spider-Man rights while sharing the lead character with the MCU. Spidey appeared in Captain America: Civil War, recast and rejuvenated, and Spider-Man: Homecoming featured Iron Man as a prominent supporting character.