Tuesday afternoon, Deadline reported that negotiations between Sony and Disney have officially broken down, resulting in Sony taking Spider-Man away from Marvel Studios. Disney was attempting to negotiate a 50% co-financing cost, substantially increasing their profit margin from the original 5% entitled to them. Merchandising was also a huge part of the original deal. The annual fee Marvel was paying Sony to keep the profits was reduced down to $35 million. Sony’s Tom Rothman attempted to compromise with Disney’s demands but was met with rejection.

News of negotiations falling through has resulted in information about Feige’s involvement with Venom becoming public. Feige having a hand in the most profitable films of the franchise isn’t necessarily a good look for Sony’s leverage. Feige’s relationship with Sony began after the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2. That information was made public after the Sony hack of 2014. Feige provided notes critiquing the film and what could be done to make it better in the future. 

Collider provides an excellent timeline of the events and details concerning the Sony/Marvel Studios deal. Feige and Pulmutter reached out to Sony after the release of the poorly-reviewed The Amazing Spider-Man 2. The hack revealed the communications between the parties as well as the script for the follow up to TASM2. Public pressure gets Sony to go back to Marvel, and we get his appearance in Civil War and subsequent films. 

At this point in negotiations, Sony believes they’re fine without Feige’s help. They believe they have what they need to move forward.

Social media reactions to the news have been far from positive. Public opinion will hopefully drive both parties back together. It has previously, but it’ll be interesting to see who is willing to make concessions. Will Sony realize that they’re far better off with Marvel Studios and Kevin Feige on speed-dial? Will Marvel decide to keep fans happy and take less than what they deserve in the process? It’ll be interesting to see if this gets resolved by D23, which starts on August 23rd.

Update: Sony Pictures took to Twitter overnight to provide clarity to the situation. 

Jason Payne

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