The world of superhero movies just got a lot less friendly: Not long after Spider-Man: Far From Home became the highest-grossing Sony film of all time, the studio has rejected a plan from Marvel Studios that would’ve made them co-producers on future Spider-Man movies, effectively kicking Disney out of the Spidey business. According to Deadline, Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige had pitched Sony on a 50/50 financing deal for any upcoming Spider-Man movies (along with the potential to bring “other films in the Spider-Man universe” into Marvel Studios’ grasp), but Sony reportedly shot that down outright without even trying to work out a compromise. In other words, it made a ton of money off of Far From Home, so Sony thinks it no longer needs Marvel’s involvement to make good Spidey movies.
Of course, it remains to be seen how good they’ll actually be. Feige was the lead creative producer on Spider-Man: Homecoming and Far From Home, and we all saw how Sony’s last three Spider-Man movies went before Feige and Marvel came along and offered their help. Plus, Marvel’s involvement meant that Tom Holland’s Webslinger was free to appear in mainline MCU movies like Avengers: Endgame and Captain America: Civil War. That won’t be the case going forward, despite how much of a prominent role it seemed like Spidey was going to have in the MCU after the death of Tony Stark in Endgame. However, this does mean that Sony could be more willing to put Holland’s Spidey in some of its Spider-Man-adjacent films like Venom 2 and Jared Leto’s Morbius.
That all being said, it’s worth looking at this news from the perspective of how 2019 has gone for Disney so far. This year has already seen the studio break its own records for making the most money in a single year and releasing the most movies that crossed $1 billion at the box office (with several huge sequels still on the way), so Sony managing to land a hit like this—even if it means Spider-Man can’t hang out with Happy Hogan anymore—is certainly a big deal. Sure, it’s just a different massive media company that’s getting the win today, but all of us who are n”ot shareholders should be able to feel a little satisfaction at Disney actually losing for once.
UPDATE—8/21/19, 10:56 AM CST: Per Polygon, Sony Pictures Entertainment has released a statement regarding the split, which seemingly negates earlier notions that Feige’s future involvement was still in negotiation.
“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.”