Disney head Alan Horn and Sony head Tom Rothman recently spoke about the struggle between the two studios in reaching a deal for the future of the Spider-Man franchise and how the media attention surrounding it complicated matters. Ever since Tom Holland's version of Peter Parker appeared in 2016's Captain America: Civil War, he has become an integral part of the MCU, as well as a fan favorite. Disney and Sony established a deal that allowed the web-slinger to join the Disney-based MCU while still remaining under Sony's ownership.
That seemed to change this summer when news broke that Spider-Man would be leaving the MCU after the two studios were unable to reach a deal they both found satisfying. Spider-Man: Far From Home had just become the highest-grossing Spider-Man film, as well as Sony's overall highest-grossing film by crossing the $1.1 billion mark worldwide. Disney reportedly wanted to split the costs of Spider-Man films 50-50 between them and Sony, which would also grant them a higher percentage of the profits. Sony turned this deal down, and negotiations stalled. Then, only about a month later, the studios revealed they had reached an agreement, and Spider-Man would be staying within the MCU for a bit longer.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter during a studio heads roundtable, Rothman and Horn briefly discussed this new deal when asked about it. THR commented that Sony has proven they can do Spider-Man without Disney's help (as seen with last year's hit Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse). Rothman and Horn responded like this:
Rothman: Yes, we have. But I agree with my distinguished colleague. This was a classic win-win-win. A win for Sony, a win for Disney, a win for the fans. The only thing I would say is that news cycles and the rhythm of negotiations do not necessarily overlap. And this is, in the words of Shakespeare, a consummation devoutly to be wished. We would have gotten there, and the news got ahead of some things.
Horn: I agree with that.
The news that Spider-Man would be leaving the MCU spread quickly and ignited fans' anger and disappointment. Horn himself even said in the same roundtable that fans' reactions helped the two studios to make a new deal. Many people spoke up about it, including the Russo brothers and Tom Holland himself. Within this new deal, Spider-Man will close out his trilogy with one more solo film (set for July 16, 2021) and be featured in one other MCU film. It is unclear what will happen after that.
It's easy to believe that the speediness of the news these days can make delicate negotiations complicated. While fans were making memes and mourning the loss of Peter, the studios were continuing to talk and work things out. Rothman's comments suggest he always believed Sony and Disney would work things out, and that people's reactions were premature. The news reporting Spider-Man's exit likely forced Rothman to make a statement and temporarily close the negotiations, though clearly they were struck back up soon after. It was a messy situation between two major studios, and at the time, it was brave of Sony to stand up to the might of Disney. While people may have wished Sony continued to hold firm against Disney, most are thrilled to keep Spider-Man within the MCU and have him continue his journey.
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
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