The saga between Sony Pictures, Marvel Studios, and the Walt Disney Company regarding the haggling over Spider-Man continues to get stranger and stranger. And now that the news is out and the companies are attempting some damage control, more details are hitting the public over how and why Peter Parker is getting booted from the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the billion dollar success of Spider-Man: Far From Home.
According to some insiders in a new report from the Hollywood Reporter, Sony has apparently bolstered its confidence and approach established by Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige. Now that they've had two hits under their belt with the Venom spinoff and the animated award-winning picture Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, the prevailing thought around the studio is that they don't need the MCU anymore.
"[Sony film chief Tom Rothman] is thinking 'Okay, we've learned everything we need to from Kevin's playbook. We did Venom on our own and we did Spider-Verse,'" said one Sony insider in the report.
The result is shaping up to be a messy divorce between the two companies that once had a prosperous working relationship and benefitted from multiple billion dollar-grossing films. And while Disney has a lot riding on the possibility of keeping Spidey in the MCU, some analysts seem to think that the implications are more drastic for Sony.
"The economic terms for that [Spider-Man] franchise seem to have gotten more complicated – partly reflecting Disney's shifting priorities since the Fox acquisition," said Wall Street analyst Tuna Amobi, of CFRA Research. "From an economic and creative standpoint, I would think the development probably has more implications either way for Sony."
Box Office analyst Shawn Robbins echoed her sentiments, stating that the cards are stacked against Sony now that they'll have the added pressure of making a Spider-Man movie OUTSIDE of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
"If the two sides don't come to a compromise, it's a lose-lose for everybody," said Robbins. "Marvel won't be able to resolve the cliffhanger in future movies, which is saying something when it's their most popular hero. And for Sony, who has had success, Far From Home doesn't get to a billion dollars without Feige and Marvel's involvement."
While initial reports indicated that Sony has Holland and director Jon Watts locked down for two more movies, that might not be the case; THR's new report states that Watts' two film obligation has finished and he can move on, while Holland only has an option for one more film.
What's stopping Sony from recasting the role now and focusing on a new franchise that can be folded into their box office hit Venom, with a much cheaper and younger actor to build around?