Sony has responded to news of Marvel Studios no longer being involved in the Spider-Man franchise by blaming Disney. Sony and Marvel Studios struck an unprecedented deal in 2015 to work together to bring a new iteration of Peter Parker to the big screen. They cast Tom Holland to play the teenage hero appropriately, and quickly had him debut in Captain America: Civil War. He's gone on to appear in two Avengers films and had two solo films, but now Spider-Man's time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe may be over.
Reports began to circulate recently that Sony and Marvel Studios hit an impasse while discussing the terms of a new deal to work together on Spider-Man movies. Marvel and Disney wanted to take a 50/50 split of financing and share of the profits of the solo films (which they currently receive up to 5% of), which Sony rejected and countered. No deal has been agreed upon, with Sony moving forward with plans to make two more solo films starring Holland. None of these reports were officially commented on by the studios involved though, until now.
In a statement shared with THR, a spokesperson for Sony Pictures shared the studio's disappointment over the end of their working relationship with Marvel Studios and president Kevin Feige. After Sony has been caught in the crosshairs of fans reacting to this news, the studio's statement shifts the blame to Disney for what's currently the end of Spider-Man's tenure in the biggest movie franchise of all time.
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.
This statement is clearly Sony changing the narrative around what happened with the Marvel deal. Many already didn't have faith in the studio after past Spider-Man films, so this was viewed as the studio once again trying the cinematic universe model on their own. However, Sony is (smartly) attempting to push the blame squarely onto Disney's shoulders with this statement, even without alluding to the financial side of the deal.
The money isn't what Sony used to explain why no compromise could be found, as they instead state that Feige is too busy to work on the Spider-Man franchise. He's producing five films and five TV shows in the next two years, so his plate is full even without thinking about the future or integrating the Fantastic Four and X-Men. Whether or not Feige's workload is the real reason behind the deal falling apart is unclear though, as time likely could be found if Marvel and Disney were receiving a larger percentage of the profits.
If there's a silver lining to the statement for fans, Sony also is hoping that this is a momentary break in the partnership and not a complete split. There have been reports that a deal could still be agreed upon. But, this also further highlights how Sony is putting the ball back in Marvel's court to make a deal happen. They've put the blame on Disney and expressed interest in the deal continuing. This is all more than likely public negotiations by both parties, so it'll be fascinating to see if and how Disney responds. With D23 this weekend, this will be the talk of the convention if a deal isn't ironed out ahead of time.