Why Spider-Man is NOT Returning to Marvel Studios

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Spider Man and the Avengers Why Spider Man is NOT Returning to Marvel Studios

As Marvel Studios’ cinematic universe continues to find success – with Iron Man 3 launching Phase 2 to a total box office take of over $1 billion worldwide - we’ve also seen a number of other properties return to the Marvel fold. In some cases this is because the production companies who temporarily owned them missed the deadline for rebooting the property, allowing the rights to revert back to Marvel (see: Daredevil). In other cases, as with Sony and Columbia’s recent return of Ghost Rider, the properties have been sold back to Marvel because the other studios simply didn’t want to use them any more.

Perhaps it’s no surprise, given those recent precedents, that so much attention was given this week to a rumor that Sony was considering selling off major franchises like Spider-Man and Resident Evil in a bid to raise capital for their entertainment division. If this were true, then it would open up the possibility of Marvel buying back the rights to Spider-Man and potentially integrating the character into the Marvel cinematic universe.

So, is there a chance that we’ll soon see Spider-Man fighting alongside Thor, Captain America, Iron Man and the Hulk, joining the growing shared universe of Marvel movies? In short: no. This is not going to happen. Not a chance. Sony isn’t considering it, and they never were.

The rumor has been thoroughly debunked by SlashFilm, and appears to have arisen from confusion regarding a letter written to Sony’s current CEO, Kiz Harai, in which major investor and owner of Third Point Offshore Investors, Dan Loeb, advised that the company sell a 15-20% stake in its entertainment division, in order to raise capital and prove the value of the division.

Andrew Garfield as Spider Man1 Why Spider Man is NOT Returning to Marvel Studios

The talk of Sony selling off Resident Evil and Spider-Man was based on the mistaken belief that Loeb’s proposal suggested selling actual properties, when in fact he was simply recommending that Sony sell stock in its entertainment properties. Whether or not they will actually decide to do so is still unclear, as Harai was pretty non-committal on the issue. In the report that started the rumor, over the The Register, Harai responded:

“Third Point’s proposal involves the way we manage a core business of the Sony group and the direction of our management. So the Sony board will give it thorough consideration before replying to Mr Loeb.”

Perhaps there will come a point in the future at which Sony is inclined to sell Spider-Man back to Marvel – after all, it’s hard to predict whether or not the franchise will continue to be profitable for the company, and how long the popularity will last. But the difference between Spider-Man and properties like Ghost Rider, Blade and Daredevil is that The Amazing Spider-Man netted a worldwide gross of over $750 million when it was released last year, and The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is likely to see similar success when it’s released in 2014. Including the original trilogy, the Spider-Man movies have made over $3.3 billion at the box office, and are currently the most lucrative movie franchise that Sony owns.

At this point, it would probably require a temporary break in sanity for Sony to sell off the property. To put the final nail in the coffin of this rumor, head of Sony Pictures Amy Pascal responded to the reports by telling AICN that she would “never ever ever” let go of the Spider-Man franchise, which she considers to be tied into the legacy of her time at Sony Pictures.

Spider Man 3 Why Spider Man is NOT Returning to Marvel Studios

Before you get too up in arms, Spidey fans: As we discussed on our Screen Rant Underground podcast, Marvel Studios holding all the cards is not necessarily the best approach. Marvel only has so much budget to go around in their film division, which means they can only make so many films per year. Even if you saw more of Spidey in the Marvel Movie Universe, that major franchise would come at the expense of seeing second-tier characters like Doctor Strange or Black Panther getting their turn at bat. And considering Sony and Marvel were once planning to merge their universes by having an Oscorp cameo in The Avengers, fans may nonetheless get what they really want: to see Spider-Man and The Avengers side-by-side.

Would you like to see Spider-Man return to Marvel so that he can play with the other kids, or do you like the fact that a few Marvel characters are being developed by other studios, away from the Marvel cinematic universe?

[poll id="609"]

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is out in theaters on May 14, 2014.

Source: The Register [via ComicBookTherapy], SlashFilm and AICN.

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TAGS: spider-man, the amazing spider-man, the amazing spider-man 2

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  1. Marvel ever since i was a kid i loved all your spiderman movies. I had toys of spiderman even blankets. I was really looking forward to seeing spiderman 4 but when i heard that spiderman 4 was not going to come and instead the amazing spiderman was i was sad.i started thinking about the original spiderman movies you made and i said to myself all those spiderman movies were good why didnt they make spiderman 4. but i knew you sold the spiderman character i was sad. If you didnt sell the spiderman character i would rather see spiderman 1,2,and 3 then watch the amazing spiderman or the new one. i hope you get spiderman back and make spiderman 4. with the original characters tobey maguire and kristen dunst.

    • Common Sony let Spider-Man go. Spider-Man Belongs in the marvel universe and the Spider-Man stories will only take you so far. how many times are they going to reboot it? At least come to a partnership with Marvel Studios so that we can watch the Spider-Man stories as they were ment to be told.

      • Does Disney/Marvel have anything they could use as a trade? Does Disney have anything that would be better off in Sony’s hands (other than money…)?

        • don’t think so. what do u think they want? money is the only option.

      • OK…up until now I didn’t know that Spiderman was owned by anyone OTHER than Marvel! (total news to me.) Why have the Marvel universe peppered all over the place??? Having Sony own Spiderman just keeps him from REALLY shining as one of the greatest superheroes out there. I for one would LOVE to see the Avengers start to show some interest in his exploits (he DOES become an Avenger, after all). Maybe after he fights the Sinister Six, we could see a nod to Iron Man or Captain America coming in…? As long as he is owned by Sony and not completely by MARVEL, we’ll never really see them, as FREESPIDERMAN pointed out, as they were meant to be told.

        • Marvel sold the film rights to several characters back in the 80s and maybe early 90s as well IIRC because Marvel was struggling to stay afloat and needed money and given they didn’t make movies at the time as DC could being owned by Warner Brothers they didn’t have the foresight to think it to be a bad idea. But it came down to Marvel Comics being desperate for cash because they were on the verge of going out of business.

          That said, if it wasn’t for Fox and Sony making X-Men and Spider-Man in the early 2000s Marvel wouldn’t be where they are today and the comic superhero genre probably wouldn’t have taken off like it has since 2000.

    • even blankets? that s*** is serious man…

    • Sony, made those films as well. They rebooted because the 3rd film wasn’t as well received as the other two and then they also had trouble getting some of the actors to sign back on.

    • Spiderman 1,2,3 were made by Sony too…. They weren’t made by Marvel.

    • Lol dude even the first Spidey movies were made by Sony. And they sucked, dunno how you liked them.

  2. Superhero movies won’t go on forever. At some point, the public is going to get tired of them and there will be an extended hiatus. I believe that’s when Marvel will regain the rights to Spider-Man and the X-Men. I doubt Sony and Fox will be motivated to spend the money necessary to keep the rights during the upcoming break.

    • @william r. cousert you are wrong on at least 15 different levels

      • Sony plans to make films about the villains in the series specifically so they can keep rights to the intellectual property. Sony is probably the weakest among the majors now as this and James Bond (helped by MGM) are the only worldwide properties they have.

  3. There can’t be a Spiderman without Tobey …

    • I’m sorry but that’s him realizing he sucked so bad at being Spidey

    • We all have our opinions, mine is that the Tobey McGuire movies sucked. I wanted to see Spiderman, not a whiney Peter Parker (which i swear was to give him face time.) I remember an interview with him saying that he wasn’t a fan of Spiderman making him a better actor for Spidey. Not to say a Spiderman fan wouldn’t overact but it showed just little respect he had for the fans and the character.
      Then there’s Andrew Garfield that said that MJ should be a dude. Now I’m not against gay superheroes but you can’t just change a much beloved character to make a statement. It was him making a joke, but in bad taste.
      And while they are correct about spreading out the franchises meaning more movies. Doesn’t mean that’s better though. I really enjoy Dr Strange, but i’d still rather have a great Spiderman for a change. Not to mention how disappointing it was to not see the web swinger fighting aliens in the background of The Avengers.
      All the characters need to return home, to marvel so we can have a Marvel universe as opposed to a few movies that are isolated from each other.

  4. I don’t understand. why do everyone say that if marvel gets all their characters back, they have to make movies for all of them every year? It’s a Marvel character, Marvel won’t lose their rights to their own characters. If Spiderman lost at the box office, they could just put him into a box for a while, letting other more obscure characters to shine, ten use him later on when fans r desperate.
    I personally want ALL of their characters back: Spiderman, Fantastic Four, X-Men, all of them. Only Marvel can do their own characters’ justice.

  5. I’m surprised that Marvel could not make a deal with Sony for allowing Marvel Studios to use Spider Man in the Avengers movies. Sony would get a good share of the money and also promote the movie would be a great move for them.

  6. The article makes a very good point in that a single studio is only going to make so many movies a year – that’s certainly true and insofar Spider-Man is best left at Sony.

    I am kind of shocked that the reboot made so much money – I thought it was crap. Sam Raimy’s movies were close to perfect as Spider-Man goes – in fact they were probably a bit too close to the comic book character in that everything that can go wrong always goes wrong in Peter Parker’s life. The reboot is more positive but the character is shallow and the actor(s) simply don’t fit.

    I think it’s going to be downhill from here for the new Spidey franchise – you can only make crap movies so long before people notice. Marvel is doing a very good job spinning epic story lines across its film properties, and now also their TV show. The latest Thor was better than one could reasonably expect from … well, Thor. Captain America 2 likewise a much better film than could be expected. And The Avengers obviously the best comic book hero adaption movie of all time. Iron Man seems to be on a bit of a downward trajectory – the latest had too little story IMO. Again , a CGI explosion extravaganza can sustain a franchise for a bit but in the long run people will always be looking for meaning. Even in superhero movies.

    • Are you trolling? How is Raimi’s Spiderman even remotely close to the comics compared to Webb’s? Since when did Spiderman have “web glands”. Spiderman’s first GF was Gwen not MJ and Venom is not a midget. Venom is like 7 foot at least. And he doesn’t die. Raimi should’ve stuck with horror films where he actually did well.

    • I totally disagree. The original spiderman movies’ characters were flat as cardboard (still loved the movies though… total sucker for spiderman) and they wreaked havod on the canon. Almost all of Amazing Spidey was better, holding off on the green goblin is a great move, Parker is actually a dweeb instead of having half an awkward scene to try to get the point across, Mary Jane is nowhere to be found, as it should be. The biggest criticism I have is too many people got to see his face. And I’m going to be extremely disappointed if Gwen doesn’t teach Parker a valuable lesson about physics in AS 2 or 3….

  7. Too much for a post and I’ve not writer. Which makes me the average movie goer.

    Avengers…awesome. All the movies associated with it…great! Original Spiderman…awesome 1&2, then three got a little more childish with he whole song and dance. Tobey…a great actor. But most paying movies goers grew up with this stuff are adults now. The amazing Spiderman…Awesome again and little darker, grittier, and realistic. ahhh the destruction. That’s what would happen. That’s what we need. Ie Man Of Steel(temp universe mention) really proved that. Things need to evolve for the new age. We want to believe.
    Keep it fairly Earthly and possible. Avenger and Guardians, please no. A fighting racoon is almost as bad as Spiderman three.(I’m still gonna watch Guardians & love every minute as a stand alone). Now…no Spiderman with Avengers…boo! I can let go of Tobey, but what I cannot let go of is Spidey not showing up in even if its just the end of a Avengers showdown battle epic. I mean, the dialog and smurk spidey comments, along with he possibility of a Webbed slingshot Hulk into Battle(without his consent of course) is awesome, and destructive. I’m not a writer but I have an imagination and love movies with a budget behind it as long as it stays with the integral parts of a plot and character development. That’s where is get hard. How do you budget that many actors and special effects.
    Here’s how. Stay true to the big money makers. The main and popular characters. After 2 or 3 movies why can’t sony agree to let Marvel use spider man with a %. Majority would love to see some Thor Bolts tossed with some spidey webs. Theatres would be devastatingly packed. Not only is Spidey strong, but also smart. Smarts could be used with the possible lack of Iron man in the battle field. Anyway…it’s about studios and money right. Well if you all get together and stick to the glory of it all without adding to many BS non realistic characters then I believe we have movie magic. Instead of movies dying after a few sequels. Sure Ant man is awesome, but really, if we are going to try to make it feel possible in a reality, no one wants to be an ant man. I would however want to be a god from another planet, or a philamptrophist playboy millionaire, honorable captain, spider like web slinger(sorry ant man), or indestructible green monster who truly is unpredictable who could add an devastating twist for the heroes. Keep it real, keep it dark, family oriented but serious. And maybe the budget, and the actors will keep acting for acting, and we could add more. We have a movies epic that can go amazingly far if studios and actors contribute. As for shallow actors I believe some comic hardcore fans axpect exactness. This is wrong. What I find in shallow, I see depression. Real people numb to the existence of reality. Lets keep is real. I love Tobey but the new guys provides an kinda this suck, but once I start doin it I’m gonna get into it. This also goes for Dc. Hopefully my poor writing makes the point. Thanks Screen rank for letting us all contribute.

    • I disagree with everything you say, people don’t want dark and gritty they want fun and sci fi… That’s why marvel is better then DC and fox combined.

      Let’s have more talking animals, add magic and clones and multiple dimensions. The population of the Earth are slowly turning into geeks and it’s about time, keep pushing us Disney and Lego and all you other fantastic corporations. We will have a STEM nation even if you have to bulldoze over the old ‘grounded and gritty’ population.

      We will inspire creativity and have a nation where science and bending reality is more important then society and making money…

      And superheros will lead the way…

  8. I can hardly believe Marvel have sold the movie rights forever or absolutely! It would be so stupid.

    Marvel has a contract with Sony and Fox, which allows them to use and monetise these Marvel characters on the Big Screen … but they still own the characters. So these deals must have some deadlines or terms to end the contract … every contract can be canceled by the contract parties (even Open-ended deals, though it could be expensive) – as long as Marvel didn’t sell the rights off … which I can’t imagine!

    • That’s what they did because Marvel was in dire shape at the time and at high risk of going out of business, they sold the film rights but there was at least one clause though not sure if it applies to Sony/Spider-Man but it certainly does with Fox as seen with what they’ve done with Fantastic 4 and that’s a time limit in which the studio needs to have a movie in production or something like that. I believe is also why rights to Dare Devil, Punisher, Ghost Rider and Blade rights back because the studio that held them no longer had interest in investing in them.

      So it’s basically forever unless the studio with them decides the property is not worth further investment and won’t be making movies with it or Disney/Marvel offers an obscene amount of money for them.

      • Oookay! So they really did it.
        Of course, you’re right – Marvel wasn’t in best shape in the 90s. I almost forgot … its still stupid to sell the movie rights off, but it makes a lot more sense under these economic circumstances back then.

  9. I say Sony should keep the rights to spider man the first 2 spider man movies were good and so are the 2 amazing spider man films I think they should join together. Also I think they should’ve never sold the spider man tv shows rights to marvel and Disney because the tv show the ultimate spider man sucks, i know it’s for little kids but us older people still like to se the animated series if Sony still ha the rights we would probably still have the spectacular spider man which was a really good show

    • Just had to put up a reply here. Marvel has always owned the rights to the animated series and TV shows. Those are seperate rights from Film. Marvel would occasionally lease it out but they always loaned the character. When Disney purchased Marvel, they bought all the rights away. No one ever besides Marvel/Disney has owned full TV rights to any of their characters. Spectacular Spider-Man was also their show.

  10. I agree. In short its better to wait it out share the Marvel load, let everyone have a turn developing characters differently, it also gives time to decide what characters path should entwine( whats pop n whats notular). But I still cant shake that feeling that spidy will be fighting side by side with friends again, soon!