The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger quips Tom Holland seemed a "bit giddy" when the Spider-Man star called from a pub in an attempt to convince Disney to renegotiate its deal with Sony Pictures after talks between the two studios broke down earlier in the year, threatening to pull the wallcrawler out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In October, Iger confirmed on Jimmy Kimmel Live! Holland played a key role in swaying both sides to reach a new deal, saying Holland requested a way to contact the executive after the 23-year-old star appeared at Disney's D23 Expo when promoting Pixar's Onward.
Holland was "obviously devastated" when it looked like his tenure in the shared MCU might end, he said during a December appearance on Kimmel, adding he requested Iger's email address "to say thank you."
"I wanted to say this has been an amazing five years of my life," Holland said. "Thank you for changing my life in the best way and I hope that we can work together in the future, and I got his email and I sent him the email and then he responded very quickly saying, 'I'd love to jump on the phone with you at some point, when are you free?'"
Some two or three days later, Holland received a phone call from an unknown number while "like three pints in" at a pub.
"I have a feeling like 'this is Bob Iger, but I'm drunk,'" Holland said. "So my dad's like, 'Just take the call, you'll be fine.' So anyway, I answer the call, and I'm like, 'Hey, Bob.' I basically said, 'Thank you for the opportunity,' and then he said, 'There is a world where we can make this work,' and then there was a bunch of phone calls back and forth from [Sony film chairman] Tom Rothman. He was really instrumental in the process and it was really interesting for me to have these two studio heads [be] like, 'What do you think?' I'm like, 'I don't know, I'm an actor.'"
Iger earlier said on Kimmel Holland grew emotional on the call, saying "it was clear that he cared so much. And actually, we care about him."
Holland, who first debuted as Peter Parker-slash-Spider-Man in the Disney-produced Captain America: Civil War, next reprised the role in Sony's Spider-Man: Homecoming — produced by Marvel Studios — and twice more in Disney's Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame before returning in Sony's Spider-Man: Far From Home, so far the highest-grossing Spidey movie and the first to earn more than a billion at the box office.
It was a relationship all sides wanted to continue, including Marvel Studios president and now Marvel chief creative officer Kevin Feige.
"I felt for [Holland], and it was clear that the fans wanted this to happen. So after I got off the phone with him, I made a couple of phone calls to our team at Disney Studios, and then I decided to call the head of Sony, and I said 'We have to figure out a way to get this done, for Tom and for the fans.' And we did," Iger said on Kimmel. "That's how it happened... Sometimes, when companies are negotiating with each other, they kinda forget that there are other folks out there."
Disney will provide 25% of the budget for Sony's Spider-Man 3, a deal entitling Disney to 25% of net gross profits when the untitled sequel swings into theaters July 16, 2021. Follow the author @CameronBonomolo on Twitter.