spider-man disney deal

Fans of Tom Holland‘s Spider-Man breathed a sigh of relief when Sony Pictures Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios announced that they had come to an agreement over the beloved webslinger’s fate in the Marvel Cinematic Universe last month. It was the triumphant end of what seemed like a viciously fought battle on both sides — Sony holding the movie rights to Spider-Man, Disney demanding higher profits, Marvel and its fans caught in the middle. Holland rallied fans to demand that Sony and Disney make peace in this “feud” so that Spider-Man could stay in the MCU, and a deal was finally struck. But two Disney and Sony executives now claim that the two companies would have come to this result regardless of all the hoopla surrounding it.

In a roundtable interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Disney Studios chief Alan Horn and Sony Pictures chief Tom Rothman opened up about the feud between the two companies over the movie rights to Spider-Man that drove MCU fans into a desperate frenzy. The head honchos were more amenable than reports of the feud would have us believe, and they explained why: “We would have gotten there, and the news got ahead of some things,” Rothman said. The Sony chief continued:

“This was a classic win-win-win. A win for Sony, a win for Disney, a win for the fans. The only thing I would say is that news cycles and the rhythm of negotiations do not necessarily overlap. And this is, in the words of Shakespeare, a consummation devoutly to be wished. We would have gotten there, and the news got ahead of some things.”

Rothman said that the fan reaction to the prospect of Spider-Man leaving the MCU did help speed negotiations along. “The fan base, which is important to all of us, seemed to really respond to what Tom [Rothman] and his folks have done before with our people,” Horn said, adding:

“They like the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Kevin Feige were involved [in the two Spider-Man films]. We heard feedback out there that suggested that joining forces once again was probably really a good idea.”

When reports first broke that Sony was not renewing the deal with Disney, which allowed Marvel Studios to feature Spider-Man in its films and allowed Sony box office profits while the House of Mouse got merchandising, fans were apoplectic. Petitions were soon signed, tears were shed, and Sony was vilified by the news media — the latter of which I felt was a little unfair considering the talks fell through because Disney, one of the richest companies in the world with a growing monopoly over the entertainment industry, was asking for more money. However, Rothman and Horn’s statements lend credence to theories that the news of talks stalling were leaked to the media as part of a negotiating tactic by Disney. While both executives are speaking very diplomatically now, it’s possible they would have come to the same decision, regardless of Disney using fan outcry as leverage.

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