Source: Marvel Studios (Art by Ryan Meinerding)

The world of superhero cinema is a very different place than it was a couple decades ago. There were no cinematic universes and only a relative few characters had movie franchises. No one had any idea what the superhero genre would become, especially Sony Pictures, the studio that passed on the rights to almost every Marvel character in 1998.

The price that was too rich for Sony? $25 million.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Sony had an offer from Marvel to purchase the movie rights to Iron Man, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Thor, and many others for $25 million. That was all Marvel Entertainment CEO Ike Perlmutter was asking at the time, but Sony only wanted Spider-Man.

At the time, Sony Pictures executive Yair Landau was unimpressed with Marvel’s offer.

“Nobody gives a shit about any of the other Marvel characters. Go back and do a deal for only Spider-Man.”

That logic shows exactly why Kevin Feige and the Marvel Studios team have been so successful. For them, it has not been a matter of which characters moviegoers already know and care about, but which ones audiences could care about.

These Marvel characters have had a following in the comics for decades and it was a matter of figuring out how to translate that to a much bigger audience at the movies. Once again, we see how Marvel Studios’ belief in their characters, regardless of how many people recognized certain names, has been such a critical factor in the studio’s success.

As for that $25 million price tag? The MCU has grossed $13.5 billion to date.

It is crazy to think just how different superhero movies would be if Sony had made this deal. Disney would have been less inclined to buy Marvel if the company had no movie rights to their characters.

Feige was a producer on the Spider-Man films, so perhaps he could have convinced Sony to make more movies. It is highly doubtful, however, that he would have been able to do all or even most of what he’s done at Marvel Studios.

Still, there could have been an alternate version of the MCU with Spider-Man in it from the start. Of course, the one we have is surely better than anything we might have seen from Sony so their loss, is definitely our gain.

VIA: Slashfilm