Alan Horn says fan outcry was the main thing that led to Disney and Sony reaching a new deal to keep Spider-Man in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The studios initially came to terms back in 2015, pulling off an unprecedented agreement that allowed Spider-Man to become part of the lucrative MCU. Tom Holland made his debut in Captain America: Civil War, and went on to reprise the role in four more MCU installments. Despite his most recent appearance, Spider-Man: Far From Home, becoming a critical and commercial success, it looked for a while Holland's stint in the MCU was over.
In August, the entertainment industry was rocked by the surprising news Disney and Sony could not agree on a new Spider-Man deal, opting instead to go their separate ways. Fortunately, the two sides reconvened (after some pleading by Holland himself) and in September, it was announced Spider-Man would remain in the MCU for at least one more solo movie and another franchise entry (most likely a crossover event like Avengers 5). According to Horn, it was the fan blowback that spurred a new agreement.
Taking part in THR's roundtable discussion with executives from the seven major Hollywood studios, Horn was asked about the latest Spider-Man deal. He had this to say:
The fan base, which is important to all of us, seemed to really respond to what Tom and his folks have done before with our people. They like the fact that the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Kevin Feige were involved [in the two Spider-Man films]. We heard feedback out there that suggested that joining forces once again was probably really a good idea.
Spider-Man in the MCU has been beneficial for all parties, as evidenced by the box office totals and reviews. Riding off the success of Avengers: Endgame, Far From Home was the first Spider-Man movie to earn more than $1 billion worldwide. And the fans have truly enjoyed what these films have to offer, relishing in Holland's Peter Parker interacting with other MCU characters (most notably Tony Stark and others from Iron Man's corner of the universe). Spider-Man was woven so deeply into Phase 3, it was difficult to see how Disney and Sony could operate independently moving forward. While some viewers feel the MCU's Spider-Man was a bit too dependent on these connections, most would say it's for the best the studios reached a new deal. Marvel can now build on Far From Home's tantalizing cliffhanger and continue to have Spider-Man be a face of the franchise.
What will be interesting to see is how much longer Disney and Sony will join forces. Shortly after this most recent deal was announced, it was reported Marvel was considering how to write Spider-Man out of the MCU, though that hasn't been confirmed. With Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 set for July 2021 and Holland's other MCU appearance several years away still (2023? 2024?), this won't be an issue for a while. At the same time, it's something for everyone to keep in mind; and if fan feedback had that much power over Horn and Sony's Tom Rothman, they may decide to re-up the Spider-Man deal for a third time.
- Black Widow (2020) release date: May 01, 2020
- Eternals (2020) release date: Nov 06, 2020
- Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021) release date: Feb 12, 2021
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2021) release date: May 07, 2021
- Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021) release date: Jul 16, 2021
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021
- Black Panther 2 (2022) release date: May 06, 2022