The drama within the standoff between Disney and Sony is so rich it could be a movie in itself. The latest news about the new deal to put Spider-Man back in the MCU is a tale of a young hero saving the day. Tom Holland saved Spider-Man in the MCU by reaching out to executives on both sides to restart negotiations after talks fell apart.
Ironically, Holland was the one party who didn’t really have much to lose no matter how it played out. Instead of being an important player in an ensemble franchise of A-list stars, Holland would become the center of Sony’s franchise. Chris Lord and Phil Miller will develop television shows set in a Spider-verse, as well as animated films. Andy Serkis will direct Venom 2, and Holland could make an appearance beside his iconic comic nemesis. Along with his own movies, Holland would essentially be the Robert Downey, Jr. for Sony. So, what made him do it?
How Tom Holland Saved Spider-Man in the MCU (for the Fans?)
Image via screengrab
The report comes from The Hollywood Reporter who not only reveals how Tom Holland saved Spider-Man in the MCU, but also how the talks fell apart. The impasse began before the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home. They also say that Disney initially asked for a 50/50 split of financing costs and profits. Those who agreed with Sony that losing Spider-Man was Disney’s fault pointed to this offer. Yet, this offer came before Far From Home was the highest-grossing Sony Pictures film ever. The last offer from Disney arrived at Sony in January. This time they asked for 25 percent of the profits in exchange for 25 percent of the production costs. Six months passed with no counteroffer from Sony. Right before the premiere of the new Spider-Man movie, Co-chairman of Disney Studios Alan Horn ended negotiations.
There are reports that Horn did this because he thought Disney would get the rights back no matter what. Some suggest this was a mistake on his part. Yet there are rumors Apple will buy Sony Pictures. If this happens, the Spider-Man rights would revert to Marvel, according to industry reports. Yet, in late August Holland appeared at D23 where thousands of cheering fans greeted him. He reportedly “leaned on” Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman. Along with Spider-Man, Holland also plays a role in the upcoming Sony film Uncharted. Rothman needed to keep him happy. Holland then skipped over Horn and reached out to Disney CEO Bog Iger. He convinced the executive to reach out to Sony. Eventually, Disney and Sony agreed to the 25/75 split.
By Saving Spider-Man in the MCU, Tom Holland Is the Clear Winner
Image by Gage Skidmore via Flickr
There really is no downside for the collaboration between Sony and Disney. While their earnings from the first Venom movie were good, that’s as much luck as it is anything else. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is also a massive hit, but animated films just don’t bring in the box office grosses that live-action ones do. Tying their Marvel universe to the proper Marvel Cinematic Universe through Spider-Man is a win for both studios. Sony gets to reap some fan goodwill from the flawless execution of Marvel movies. If Sony’s movies are good, the MCU also will benefit from that association. If the Sony movies end up being not as successful, well that just increases the value of what Marvel Studios brings to that relationship.
Yet, the clear winner here is Tom Holland. At no point did fans ever blame him for the strife. Even when he said that Sony was working up a cool story for the third Spider-Man outside of the MCU. Fans don’t really care one way or the other who was to blame for the split. They just knew it was “greed.” Either way they’d appreciate the 23-year-old Spider-Man star. Yet, Tom Holland will likely remain a “hero” to his fans both in the movies and in the business. His earnest desire to tell the best Spider-Man stories he can is all they will ever remember mattering to him. And, because Kevin Feige insinuated as much, Holland will likely be able to appear in Sony’s standalone films as well. The deal may well fall apart after the two film extension is completed. Yet, no matter what, Marvel fans will forever remember Tom Holland as the man who saved Spider-Man in the MCU.
Featured image via screengrab
Joshua M. Patton is a father, veteran, and writer living in Pittsburgh, PA. The first books he read on his own were comics, and he's loved the medium ever since. He is the greatest star-pilot in the galaxy, a cunning warrior, and a good friend. His book "What I Learned: Stories, Essays, and More" is available in print from Amazon and from all electronic booksellers.