Sony is making plans for the approximately 900 Marvel character properties it owns, and in a recent article about that very subject, it's revealed that Sony actually has a name for its Marvel Franchise: the SUMC, or "Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters."
The franchise name was revealed in a piece by Variety, which explored what the studio has planned for its Spider-Man universe after the upcoming release of Venom in the fall. In that feature, we get the following side note about how Sony views this particular franchise:
"We're focused on being faithful to the comics," said Sanford Panitch, president of Columbia Pictures, and the executive overseeing what is being called internally, Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters."
Hopefully that title is just kept for internal use within the studio, because it's definitely not the strongest branding approach for mainstream appeal. "Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters" is just a clunky mouthful, but its clear why the studio would want to go with it. With 900 characters in the stable, calling the franchise a "Spider-Man Universe" is somewhat limiting. Adding a larger Marvel Universe spin to it raises the profile of the franchise significantly — as well as the inevitable confusion amongst casual moviegoers, who won't get all the particulars of why certain characters can't crossover, etc.
It seems that Sony is either currently planning or in production on the following Marvel character movies:
Of course, as the Warner Bros. / DC movie franchise has already shown, there's a big difference between making plans and getting movies in theaters. The viability of the "SUMC" will hinge largely on how Venom performs in a few months' time. If the Spider-Man anti-hero doesn't light up the box office, then Sony could soon be in the position of trying to simply make marketable standalones, let alone an interconnected universe of second-tier Marvel characters.
The other big concern is that these "big vision" plans may be the very thing that could trip the studio up. There are already reports that Venom could get hit with a PG-13 rating in order to invite potential crossovers with Spider-Man or other Marvel Cinematic Universe characters in the future. That's the kind of big-picture thinking that could make Sony overlook the first simple step of giving audiences what the truly want from this first introduction to the SUMC. After that, it's just a steeper uphill battle to get the full franchise off the ground.
The moment of truth will come, when Venom is released in theaters on Oct. 5th.