Fans upset with Sony's stepping away from the negotiation table with Disney regarding the future of the Spider-Man franchise and it's relationship to the Marvel Cinematic Universe have called for a storming of Sony's New York and Los Angeles offices by thousands of costumed protestors. This week, the film industry was rocked by the shocking news Marvel Studios will no longer be involved with the production of future Spider-Man movies, meaning Peter Parker is now out of the MCU unless Sony and Disney can reach a new agreement.
After becoming the most successful film in Sony's history at the box office when it passed Skyfall's total of $1.08 billion, talks between the companies broke down. Disney asked for a revised deal where they would split production and marketing costs 50/50 with Sony, and in return would also split the box office receipts. This would be a change from the deal which had covered the Spider-Man films since 2015 where Sony would shoulder all of the production costs, but either kept all of the box office or gave 5% of first-dollar gross to Marvel (depending on reports). Marvel retained all merchandising rights related to Sony's Spider-Man productions. When talks broke down, fans took to social media, most frequently placing the blame on Sony's doorstep.
In an effort to have their voices heard, Facebook users Mackenzie Hobbs and William Young created an event titled, "Storm Sony And Bring Spider-Man Home To The MCU," and has thus far managed to gain more than 5,300 individuals marking themselves as "going" and more than 4,100 as "interested." The event calls on fans to don Spider-Man costumes and descend on the offices, but stresses that the gatherings should be, "a peaceful demonstration and violence will not be tolerated". It is scheduled for October 19, beginning at 12 noon EST.
There's word that negotiations between Sony and Disney may not be entirely dead in the water, so there's hope a new Spider-Man production deal may emerge regardless of any planned protest. Without a fresh deal, Sony would still be able to utilize Tom Holland for its films, however they would have to excise any references in future films from events and characters from the MCU. The prospect of a Tony-less universe for Peter Parker continues to inspire incensed Facebook and Twitter threads and memes from around the world. While the power of social media to increases the range of individual voices as well as being able to bring together like-minded individuals to form both online protests as well as real-world ones, corporations rarely respond to this kind of effort. While the response will likely be better than storming Area 51, it's budgetary impact that speaks loudest. When television shows have advertisers pull their support, networks have been known to respond, but protests have rarely resulted in any significant impact to a film's box office. And while the event has a disclaimer for a peaceful protest, the words will have little impact once boots are on the street if several thousand masked Spider-Men appear on Sony's doorstep and anything goes awry.
Even if the new budgetary split were to be agreed to by Sony to keep Spider-Man in the MCU sandbox, it doesn't address the all too real issue of Kevin Feige's available time. With the heavy production slate of Marvel cinematic titles as well as content for the upcoming Disney+ content, finding enough hours for Feige to also serve as an active producer on another Spider-Man film in the next two years may be a far harder feat. But if they do settle, we may yet find out what will happen between Happy and Aunt May.
- 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
- Thor: Love and Thunder (2021) release date: Nov 05, 2021