Any fans still clinging to the hope that there will be a miraculous turn of events in the Spider-Man negotiations between Sony Pictures and Disney may want to start loosening their grip. Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is already referring to Spidey’s time in the MCU exclusively in the past tense and now Sony leadership is closing its own doors.
“For the moment, the door is closed,” said Sony Pictures CEO Tony Vinciquerra at Variety‘s Entertainment and Technology summit. Vinciquerra claims there is “no ill will” between his company and Disney or Marvel Studios, but Sony is prepared to move on. Vinciquerra stuck to the same message Sony put out when the news of the Spider-split first broke, claiming Kevin Feige is stretched too thin for the Spider-Man franchise right now.
“We had a great run with (Feige) on Spider-Man movies,” the Sony chairman added. “We tried to see if there’s a way to work it out….the Marvel people are terrific people, we have great respect for them, but on the other hand, we have some pretty terrific people of our own. Kevin didn’t do all the work.”
Feige didn’t do all the work, nor has anyone claimed that he did. Feige has, however, become the most successful producer of his generation. He is, by far, the best and most consistent producer in the history of superhero-based movies. There is no question that Feige and the Marvel Studios team have been key factors in the revitalization of the Spider-Man franchise.
Sony can keep citing Feige’s busy schedule as the problem, but that’s an oversimplification at best. As we explained a couple of weeks ago, the truth is that Disney cannot and should not continue loaning Feige out for Spider-Man movies in which Disney does not have a significant enough stake. After all, Marvel Studios making a Spider-Man movie is one less movie that could be made for Disney in a given year.
Disney took a low 5% of first-dollar gross on Spider-Man: Homecoming and Spider-Man: Far From Home because it prioritized having access to the character for Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame over all else. Marvel Studios’ biggest team-ups are behind them for the foreseeable future, so it only makes sense for Disney to now want terms that better reflect Marvel Studios’ obvious contributions to the success of the Spider-Man franchise.
Vinciquerra effectively confirmed his studio’s plans to move Tom Holland’s Peter Parker into Sony’s Universe of Marvel Characters, which currently centers on Tom Hardy’s Venom. “Spider-Man was fine before the event movies, did better with the event movies, and now that we have our own universe, he will play off the other characters as well,” Vinciquerra said. “I think we’re pretty capable of doing what we have to do here.”
For Spidey’s sake (and Sony’s), Vinciquerra better be right. Sony’s track record, however, suggests he isn’t.