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″]


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

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

Follow H. Shaw-Williams on Twitter @HSW3K
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  1. There is a possibility of Spidey being apart of the avengers. Despite, the failed “insert building in skyline’ ,they did have a hint in the avengers in the amazing spider-man. Does any one remember all the construction through out New York? So basically even if Sony does not sell the rights back to marvel they’ll want a piece of the success of the avengers.

    • Sorry but no, he wont.

      You speak as if Marvel has no choice and Sony can somehow strong arm them into some sort of crossover. Yes, Sony would, “like” a piece of Marvel’s success but by that same token Marvel has no plans to share that (especially with 3rd party studios who are controlling THEIR property).


    • In Gameloft’s Iron Man 3 mobile game there is a Oscorp logo billboard on the side of a building. It’s the logo that was used in Amazing Spiderman. Not much of a big deal considering the rights don’t apply to games but also at the same time no one from Sony got up in arms about it. It’s possible down the road that these companies will eventually start working with each other. Why wouldn’t they when they could make so much money from marketing? It’ll happen someday. You know they hear us fans crying for the crossovers to happen.

  2. wow… i just found out that they cast quicksilver in x-men: days of future past. they sure are trying to beat marvel to the punch….

  3. Don’t toss out the possibility of seeing spider-man in the avengers in the near future…sony and disney have been acting quite nice to each other. Anyone who doesn’t have a clue what I mean by this, go do some research and strictly look for the facts and not someone’s speculation.

    • Tell Them cause gonna happen Disney Sony and WB might all team up that would be awesome spidey wolverine and the avengers but now that hawk eye is out and falcone is in who knows who could be “swinging” by in the future and yes quiksilver and his sister are in xmen there are magnito kids after all and they will be jumping from past to the future

  4. There is ABSOLUTELY no reason to buy back Sidey on Marvel Studios’ part. The character may still cross-over into The Avengers while owned by Sony. And I guess that’ll happen at some point. Spidey will pop up in either Avengers 2 or 3, while the stand-alone Spidey films remain with Sony. They can come to that one-flick-only agreement easily, with both sides actually profiting from it.
    Disney/Marvel will have to pay, let’s say 20% of the movies gross to Sony whereas the character Spidey and his stand-alone movies will become even more popular trough that crossover.
    Look at Iron Man 3…lame movie…but still hugely popular due to the extra bust from his Avengers involvement…Sony would be stupid not to lend them Spidey for one flick…

    • Why do people keep saying this stuff?

      Marvel doesn’t need Spider-Man to be successful (as is readily apparent) and they aren’t going to share the spotlight with another studio plus Spider-Man was never a big Avenger.

      • Actually, Spider Man was a huge player as one of the Avengers in the Civil War storyline that’s been hinted at throughout the Marvel films. The the whole subplot involving Peter and Tony was a huge part of it and further served to vilify Tony.

        • You are talking about ONE storyline in nearly 50 years of Avengers history.

          Yeah, he’s just not that important.

          And they are using The Ultimates story more than anything else.

          • What people think should be in these films seems to depend on what generation they come from. I do not really equate Spider-Man with the Avengers at all, and it would be like someone asking why Iceman and Firestar have not been in a Spider-Man movie.

            Whatever crazy cross-overs they are doing now might not ever make it into a movie, and maybe they shouldn’t. From what I know of Civil War it would be the equivalent of doing Secret Wars, Onslaught, Acts of Vengeance, the Infinity Gauntlet or any other cross title, cash grab.

            • Exactly.

  5. That’s a good point about Marvel only being able to do so much. So as long as Sony is doing Spider-Man justice then I won’t complain. And if they somehow agree to a cross-over then we have our cake and get to eat it too.

  6. Sony should send Spidey to MARVEL. Its like Eating Quaker Oats, It’s The Right Thing To Do.


    • Alright, here’s the deal. MARVEL doesn’t need a bigger stake in SONY’s Spider-Man films. Why? Because they get a solid 30-40%, give or take, from the movies for just helping Sony. It was a deal made halfway through production on TASM, so there wasn’t much benefit there but TASM 2 will feel the full effects of the deal. Sony will still make big bucks but Marvel makes 30-40% for just helping them out. On what? Who knows! Not only that, but the biggest money-maker of the franchise (the merchandising) also went back to Marvel. Face it. Marvel is making more money off of SONY’s franchise than Sony is. The only reason Sony would let this happen is if there was something in it for them. The rights to Marvel Animes was a start. But there is more that we still haven’t learned about.

  8. Fox owns X-Men and Fantastic Four. Sony owns Spider-Man. Marvel owns basically everything else. While Fox have two large enough separate franchises that they can attempt their own cinematic universe, I think sooner or later Sony will realize that it’s in their best interests to get a stake in the MCU and let Spidey be involved.

  9. I’m fine with Spiderman being at Sony for now mainly because he’s doing pretty good and I’d rather that not change. I thought that TASM was a fantastic movie and much better than Raimi’s films, not that it were flawless because it did have it’s faults but over all was a solid film. Nor am I saying that Marvel’d mess it up but like the article said, with all the other characters Marvel is trying to introduce and trying to expand their universe to generally lesser known characters, Spidey would most likely sit on the shelf collecting dust while everyone else gets their screen time, which is NOT something that I would want to see or be very happy with. Somewhere along the lines, sure. Bring Spiderman back to Marvel but only after his whole world has been fully fleshed out and well established, as someone said earlier. I’d love to see Spiderman fighting along side the Avengers but I understand (although I may not like it) the whole legal disputes and blah blah. If Marvel was to eventually do a Civil War-esque type film somewhere down the line then they would definitely need Spidey because he is a major character in the whole story line. All in all, as much as I’d like to Spiderman show up in the middle of a battle royale mid-Avengers movie, I’d prefer to wait so it’s not rushed and can be done right. The Spiderman franchise is doing well for now so just leave it as is

    • Well said! Let Sony milk Spidey to dry for now. I dont agree with your thought about TASM. I found it inferior than the Raimi’s Spidey, but it’s a matter of opinion. Civil War story line is awesome but without proper introduction of Spidey within Marvel Movie Universe it will be strange. Not to mention that to make justice to the source, it has to incorporate X-Men franchise as well. Now that a major headache

    • I agree, The Amazing Spider-Man was a great film, the pacing was a bit off I find but all in all, a solid entry. To be honest, while it would be awesome to see Spidey fight alongside The Avengers, or even a cameo, I feel Spider-Man really has its own universe that can blow up to be almost as big as the Avengers. Sinister Six, Symbiotes to name a few are huge threats so I say go with those first.

  10. Marvel does not need Spider-Man to be successful. Plus, Sony are already doing a good job with The Amazing Spider-Man. No change is needed.

  11. I don’t think Marvel needs Spidey at the moment, they are doing great without him. I would love to see a Sony/Marvel cross over that brings Spidey into the Avengers somehow, I do think that would be very,very cool. Marvel is doing great with the properties they have, but of the ones they don’t, Spiderman would be the one I would love for them to get back.
    Excellent point about Marvel not having all the properties, they can only make so many movies per year.

  12. I really don’t understand why everyone’s got their panties in a knot to see Spiderman in the Avengers. Yeah he maybe in the books now as an Avenger, but there’s at least 30 other marvel characters that were members LONG before the web head… not to mention almost 30 years worth of stories/material they can do before the first time spidy ever joined up with the Avengers for the first time… I guess if marvel was making Avengers 50 I could see it, but were only on Avengers 2 people.

  13. I would agree that Marvel is busy enough with their existing properties and that Spider-Man might be better in the hands of Sony…EXCEPT for the fact that The Amazing Spider Man was quite a disappointment to me, not as good as ANY of Marvel’s many Avengers-centric films. Can’t you handle your one big franchise, Sony? How hard is it to get one right? TASM actually had me thinking back fondly to Spider-Man 3.

  14. My name is General Zod. I have journeyed across an ocean of stars to reach you. Your world has sheltered one of my citizens. He will look like you but he is not one of you. To those of you who know of his location the fate of your planet rests in your hands. To Kal-El, I say this, surrender within 24 hours or watch this world suffer the consequences.

    • Its been 24 hours…..

  15. I think Sony is doing a great job with the Spider-Man franchise, but it would be greater if there were crossovers. People want cameos, having favorite heroes get mixed up and pitted against others. Sony should make the move and let Spider-Man be included in the next Avengers, or at least in the MCU.

  16. Sony will never be so drunk as to part with their biggest cash cow. I don’t want to see Spidey in Avengers, tho I like both seperately, so I kind of hope the big hand-over never comes to pass, as weird as this sounds to most people.

  17. Damn Sony

  18. I say Marvel should take advantage of their Spidey television rights and make a decent live-action show. TASM has good budget and effects, and a decent story. But, as much as i love Garfield, the writers seem intent on NOT writing classic Parker (or ultimate). The jokes sound forced and like he’s just fillin in a quota… the Parker Snark fires all the time on all cylinders. And just because hes a nerd doesnt excuse the cool nerd sh*t, hes socially awkward. sry, as a movie TASM is good, but IMO it is not a good movie for the character of which it was based. Plus for both 616 and Ultimate i would argue Peter pretty much see’s Aunt May and Uncle Ben as his decisive parents and his reason for becoming Spiderman, Uncle Ben’s death, needed to be handled better in TASM.

    • Although I personally thought the jokes were pretty funny, I agree with everything else. He wasnt exactly a nerd, more like ‘yeah, I could be cool if I wanted but I’m choosing to be an outcast’. And I thought he seemed a bit distant from Uncle Ben and Aunt May, one thing I didn’t like about that scene was when Garfield was over Uncle Ben and screaming ‘somebody call an ambulance!’ and his face was all contorted, reminded me too much if Maguire

    • They could even do a tv show based on the Miles Morales character and test the waters with his Spidey version.

  19. I didn’t care too much for The Amazing Spider-Man. The casting was good, but the film itself was underwhelming. I was hoping that the rights would go back to Marvel, but it’s not the end of the world. There are plenty of other Marvel characters that deserve attention.

    • Agree. Even though i personally disliked TASM, and believe marvel can release better spiderman movies, Sony still has the chance to make things right and Marvel is pretty much releasing as many superhero films as they can. Besides, there are so many other great characters Marvel got in their stock they have to explore, focusing on one character that’s already been successful wouldn’t make much sense.

  20. I’m seem to be the only one who thinks that Spiderman in the disney MCU would feel alittle less good. I’m obsessed with the MCU don’t get me wrong, more so then the comic really (what with the consistency and the non dying and coming back aspect) but honestly I don’t think Spiderman would be as flawed in the MCU

    Iron Man 3 was too polished to me, so was Captain America. It was almost too perfect of a hero story. The original Iron Man and Thor feel like really good stories.

    TASM wasn’t on par with thor or the original Iron man, but it did a really good job of setting up what I think is going to be a great cinematic universe in its own right. And I think a Peter Parker in the MCU would be a little too juvenile and a little too idealistic.

    I like TASM’s view of New York. It feels more street level. More in the people’s realm then where most of the MCU is. Which is more too do with Government powers and agencies and high level secret initiatives that most citizens in that world don’t know about.

    In short, I feel like TASM can stand on its own as a Universe. I’m excited for the TASM potential because they haven’t introduced Venom yet, And God help us when they introduce Carnage. I think there’s some GREAT potential stories.

    I will say if Sony loaned Spiderman for an avenger or 2 it would be cool just to see some precedent set of intra -studio sharing but I think there stories can stand on their own. But like others have mentioned Sony is the only one who stands to gain from that relationship. Tony Stark made a Billion last week not Peter Parker so theirs no reason for Disney to come to the table.

  21. What I would love to see though is a live action Wolverine vs Hulk crossover. Here is one character who prints money, good story or not. And then there’s a character who can’t get a good story because he’s too DAMN destructive. Both studios win!

    For Fox, Wolverine is the only character they know they can put out and make an easy profit on. There’s not a lot of marketing involved. Just Show a poster of a shadow of Hugh Jackman and most people are in easy women or men. But of course it gets harder and harder to get a good story of him because he’s indestructable!!! where’s the suspense?

    On the other side Disney can’t even get Hulk off the bench! There’s so damn deep they may not fit him in for phase 3. Yet here’s a guy who’s the underdog star of Avengers. They just don’t have the budget or time to get a movie made of him. Add to the fact that his standalone’s dont make easy profit and you got an issue here.

    Here’s the solution. Disney loan Hulk to Fox for a lump some and percentages for ONE!!!!! movie. ONLY ONE MOVIE! Set it for Hulk rampaging somewhere in Canada that may be of some historic relevance to Wolverine’s past and see what happens.

    Mark said the reason Hulk worked in the Avengers is because he’s the ultimate Werewolf story, he’s the antagonist we pity, fear and cheer for. And here’s Wolverine on the other side, the anti hero with no qualms about killing to serve his self interest. And there both indestructable. It be great popcorn fun. Look I don’t know how compelling the story could be but there’s a way to resolve a problem both studios have. Getting the crowd worried there favorite hero may actually die.

  22. I think at this point, all people really want or need is a short cameo. Maybe they don’t even interact. Just show Spider-Man onscreen in the same movie reacting to whatever the Avengers are doing. Say something funny, end scene, end movie. That, to me, would be enough. At least at first.

  23. If Spider-Man doesn’t belong to Marvel, I’d prefer the franchise belong to Sony over FOX. Actually, I’d prefer almost any studio over FOX.


    • ^This

    • The attack was described as being a “year” after Thor. Thor, in continuity, happened during and RIGHT AFTER Iron Man 2. This “week” is said to be in 2010. So, the Avengers, according to comics, etc. takes place in 2011. It says on dates in TASM, that it takes place in 2012, probably the latter part. This makes TASM take place more than a year later. Notice how, in the Avengers, the Harlem attack from the year before was only mentioned by Bruce in passing. People still run and scream during attacks. They don’t constantly mention a huge attack. (Except with one of the heroes of that attack. Someone who served during 9/11 will likely be asked about it but otherwise we don’t talk about it.) Plus, the cranes set that up plenty.

  24. Too late; in the Avengers New York got trashed but in the Amazing Spiderman 2 I don’t think they account for that, therefore plot hole.

    Also the new spiderman sucks in comparison to Raimi’s spiderman–who they should have used for Avengers.

    • I think all of the cranes lined up down one street allows for the assumption that they were repairing damage from the Battle of New York.

      At least that’s what I took from it. All we needed was Stark Tower in the background…

    • I also liked Raimi’s 1 and 2 better but liked TASM better than 3.

      As far as plot hole of New York being destroyed or not… THat can be explained away based on when the events of each movie happened. TASM can be explained as happening months, even years, before (or after) the attack on New York.

  25. I understand this will most likely never happen, but the point about the movie budgets may change. I mean, they just made over 2 billion on their last 2 movies. Future ones are likely to do pretty well. I would hope they reinvest that into their production.

  26. Sony and fox need to give them up. Marvel now has back to back billion dollar movies. With the exception of dc comics everyone else can just hope for scraps left over, tsk tsk

  27. Keep Spider-Man where he is. I need continuity with this character. The Avengers will eventually fail because the Universe will be too much!

  28. Since marvel CREATED the character, Sony should stop being pricks and give Spider-Man back to them. Spidey needs to be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

    • See, I don’t like when people do this. MARVEL SOLD THEM the rights. I’d want to keep the rights that I LEGALLY acquired for a billion (actually more) dollar franchise forever. Sony has also been pretty cooperative. They gave Marvel the animation rights back (why we got that God awful Spider-Man cartoon), they gave them the merchandising rights back and they gave them a higher stake in their films along with asking them for more help and creative input. Sony has done everything BUT sell it back to them. It seems they’re helping Marvel put out more films (as explained above) rather than being “pricks”.

  29. f**k you sony