After reports surfaced that Disney and Sony‘s Spider-Man deal (which would keep Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige on as lead creative producer for Sony’s Spider-Man films starring Tom Holland) was collapsing, Sony has issued a statement laying the blame on the House of Mouse. Sony Pictures is committing to continuing the Spider-Man franchise without Marvel Studios’ involvement, but that is the fault of Disney for cutting short a lucrative deal, according to the studio’s response.
In a statement made to The Hollywood Reporter, Sony says it is “disappointed” that Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige would no longer be acting as lead creative producer on its Spider-Man film franchise, firmly laying the blame on Disney.
The statement released by a Sony spokesperson says:
“Much of today’s news about Spider-Man has mischaracterized recent discussions about Kevin Feige’s involvement in the franchise. We are disappointed, but respect Disney’s decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live-action Spider-Man film.
We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him — including all their newly added Marvel properties — do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own. Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue.”
The studio released the same statement in a thread from its Twitter account, which suggests that Sony is rapidly attempting crisis management as the studio loses the battle of public goodwill. Does Sony’s statement suggest that yesterday’s report was an intentional leak on Disney’s part to sway public opinion in their favor? In doing so, Disney would turn private boardroom negotiations into a very public battleground, though Sony seems to be standing its ground.
According to the report that broke yesterday, Disney had approached Sony with a new co-financing deal that would have resulted in a 50/50 partnership between the studios over the Spider-Man films. Sony declined the deal in favor of keeping with the current arrangement in which Marvel Studios gets somewhere around 5% of the first dollar gross. The two sides had reportedly been discussing how to extend the deal for future Spider-Man movies to star Holland before talks collapsed.
Though I was firmly of the opinion yesterday that Sony was in the wrong in this standoff, I do feel more sympathy for the studio that had the nerve to stand up to Disney — which now holds four of the top 5 spots of the summer 2019 box office. Disney’s 50-50 proposal was certainly a little ludicrous (do they really need more money?) but at the same time, Sony hasn’t had a great track record with its Spider-Man films that don’t have Marvel’s magic touch. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is starting to feel like more of a fluke as we prepare for the era of a Spider-Man, Venom, and Morbius team-up.
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