I held off on this because it first started popping up on all the usual clickbait sites. But then Entertainment Weekly chimed in – and that’s why we’re putting it up now.
Speculation has been rampant regarding the direction of Sony’s flailing Spider-Franchise. Many of us have wished that Disney could get the film rights to Spider-Man back (and God willing the Fantastic Four as well, because damn). But Sony is loathe to let go on one of the few moneymakers they have, even if that moneymaker is starting to look like damaged goods.
It’s no secret that Amazing Spider-Man 2 was a disappointment for Sony. It fell short of the desired mark by about $300 million or so, and it continued the downward Box Office trend that started with the first Spider-Reboot film. But according to EW, cash-strapped Sony is moving ahead with its announced Sinister Six film.
But what if the Sinister Six also disappoints, and diminishing returns continue to plague Sony’s Spider-Franchise?
EW looks at some scenarios and gives a bit more meat to these rumors, though again it’s still speculation:
This is why no one should expect any deal-making to happen soon. Sony wants to keep its character, and Marvel has plenty of other characters to occupy its schedule. But it was the success of 2002’s Spider-Man (and Bryan Singer’s 2000 blockbuster X-Men), that made the comic book company realize it might want to stop licensing its heroes and start making movies on its own. Sony already traded back most of the revenue on toys and other merchandise for the webslinger, and Marvel could easily kick in financing for a Sony film if it meant getting its character back for cameos or supporting roles in ensembles like the Avengers movies. But time is on both studios’ sides: If Sony bungles Sinister Six, Marvel is in a much stronger position to say, “Let us come in and help.” That’s where a sharing partnership could come about. Or Sinister Six could crash so badly, and Spidey could become such damaged goods, that Sony simply surrenders the rights as other studios have with less-iconic properties. Marvel gets what it wants in both scenarios. The only way it loses is if Sony wins big with its next installment.
The point is, this is a long-ball game. Titanic corporations are in a tug ‘o war over this character, and solid developments will take a long time to play out. A few tentative notes have passed between them, yes. That much is certain. But with great box-office power comes great intractability.
Again, everything is speculation. Nothing is set in stone. But if the Spider-Franchise continues its downward trend, Sony may be “examining all options.”