Well, Well, Well…
On the heels of news that Sony Pictures (not Disney) would be re-releasing Spider-Man: Far From Home with new footage in theaters, comes the announcement that Kevin Feige is being rejected by Sony Pictures.
Sony, apparently, has the idea that they can move their own Spider-Man Universe (of some 900 characters) forward without the helping hand at the helm of the one guy who built an entire, coherent universe by assembling singular, focused talent together never before seen on the silver screen over the course of the last fifteen years.
This is Sony Pictures.
Y’know, the folks whose latest best idea is to mine their movie IP from the 1980s, St. Elmo’s Fire, and turn it into a television show.
The same folks who have decided Venom 2 is a good idea.
The same folks who have, so far, wrecked the Men In Black franchise with a pointless fourth film starring that Valkyrie woman.
The same folks who brought us Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse, which might be the most imaginative take on Spider-Man I’ve seen in a while. And that was nominated for (and won) an Oscar.
This is the movie studio that has stared down the Mouse House in heated negotiations over the role that Kevin Feige would play, the extent to which Disney would not only get a percentage of the profits of future films but also be involved 50/50 in the development of future Spider-Man films, and the ownership of Sony produced, Spider-Man IP and said:
“Not today, Slatan.”
But, Let’s Look at Facts…
However, this cannot go on.
There’s too much money on the table, but the thinking around the distribution of the money, may not necessarily favor the Mouse House in the short-term.
Just like any negotiation, there has to be walkaway, a potential best alternative to a negotiated agreement, and a potential worst alternative to a negotiated agreement.
And, since there’s so much money to be had in potential future profits, not only from the Spider-Man films as standalone properties but also, from Spider-Man being wrapped into future Disney/MCU properties, such as the relaunched Avengers and whatever else is happening in Marvel Phase 4 and 5.
So, here’s my breakdown of Sony’s moves, and maybe potential thinking in their negotiations with the Mouse House:
- Pretend they don’t need Disney as much as Disney needs them (Walkaway).
- Pretend they don’t need the Disney/MCU in any way, shape, or form moving forward (Walkaway).
- Take in, with some relish, the recent write-down of Fox film properties in value by Disney, and experience a little schadenfreude.
- Offer the folks at Disney a deal where the 50/50 split on future films favors Sony (and their 900-character universe which they think that Disney needs more than they think they need the Disney/MCU) more equitably in the future. Like a 70/30 or 60/40 split. (Worst Alternative).
- Bet on the future team of Amy Pascal (how does she still have credibility—and a job?) producing content, director Jon Watts (Spider-Man: Homecoming, Cop Car) keeping a steady hand at the helm, and relying on actor Tom Holland to put butts in seats without the need for a post-credit scene teaser next to a future Disney/MCU Phase 4 or 5 film (Best Alternative).
That’s a bold series of assertions and assumptions involved in Sony’s negotiation position.
On Disney’s part, their only move is to outlast Sony Pictures, relying on the undeniable fact that, just like with Fox Studios, Sony Pictures eventually will misstep massively.
So, In Conclusion…
With Venom having grossed $856 million dollar total against a $100 million budget and Venom 2 guaranteed in the pipeline…
And, with whatever’s happening with Morbius (just started shooting in 2019 with Jared Leto)…
And Kraven the Hunter, Nightwatch and the Sinister Six in development, Sony’s hand might be stronger in the short-term than the Mouse House might imagine.
Yes, there’s a lot of money on the table, but Sony Pictures might believe that the money favors them more than the Disney/MCU in spite of whatever strong creative and producing hand Feige might bring to the table.
Good luck Kevin. Even the Avengers can’t help you on this one.