UPDATE: Sony has issued a statement following reports that Spider-Man, which is property of that company, will end its partnership with Disney’s Marvel Cinematic Universe and Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige. “We are disappointed, but respect Disney’s decision not to have [Feige] continue as a lead producer of our next live action Spider-Man film,” Sony said. “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.”
Disney was allegedly looking for a 50/50 split in financing for future Spider-Man movies, but Sony wanted to keep the current arrangement, in which Marvel receives approximately five percent of the first-dollar gross. If a deal is not reached, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige will no longer produce any future Spider-Man films, and Tom Holland’s Spider-Man won’t participate in any future Marvel films.
Spider-Man’s movie rights have a tumultuous history. In 1998, Marvel sold the film rights to Sony for $10 million, 5 percent of gross revenues from the films and 50 percent of the revenue from consumer products, according to the Wall Street Journal. After numerous Sony reboots and the overwhelming success of the MCU, Feige was able to negotiate a deal to bring Spidey home and produce his new films. In a 2016 interview with SlashFilm, Feige described how he ushered Tom Holland’s Peter Parker into 2016’s Civil War and brokered the deal that would allow Spider-Man to star in future films like Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame.
“You’re dealing with two very powerful studios that have their own interest,” Feige said. “It’s a testament to Amy Pascal, who’s producing the film with us, and Tom Rothman, who runs Sony, and to all the people that run Disney. They realized the best thing for the character was to do this. It was great. The standalone Spider-Man is Sony Pictures’ film, but they’ve engaged us in producing it. So far, so good.”
Earlier this year, Spider-Man: Far From Home became the highest-grossing Sony Pictures’ film of all time. The Tom Holland-led sequel pitched Peter Parker as the spiritual successor to the MCU’s most lucrative character, Iron Man, and set him up to be a cornerstone of that shared universe. Now the future of two super-hero obsessed studios is looking murky.