Earlier this month, Marvel fans mourned a hero. Not Iron Man. Rather they mourned what appeared to be an irreconcilable standoff between Sony and Disney when it comes to Spider-Man in the MCU. Yet, thanks to Apple TV+ entering the streaming wars, there might be a new chance for a Spidey “homecoming.” If Apple will buy Sony Pictures, the rights to the Spider-Man character will likely be up-for-grabs. At the very least, Apple may feel differently about the sort of cost-sharing and profit-sharing scheme Disney cooked up for Sony. A number of stories in recent days suggest that Disney and Sony’s talks to possibly renegotiate their Spider-Man deal are halted because of this potential sale. Unfortunately for Spidey fans, these reports come from sites with sketchy track records when it comes to “scoops.” Even if they are getting inside info, their ability to make connections is questionable.
For example, one site reported that “Disney” lost faith in Brie Larson’s Captain Marvel and Kevin Feige’s vision for the MCU Phase 4. They also claim that Sony didn’t want Spider-Man in the picture because “Captain Marvel…would have belittled Spidey in order to prop herself up…in order to promote Disney’s PC feminist agenda that shows females as being better than males.” This, of course, is the ludicrous fever dream of someone who cosplays as Tucker Carlson. Captain Marvel brought in $1.128 billion at the box office, and ultimately an unpowered man saved the entire universe. Feige, of course, oversees the most successful cinematic franchise in history. Another notoriously “mistaken” site suggests that Disney will buy Spider-Man’s rights for $10 billion, six billion dollars more than they paid for the entirety of Lucasfilm. Still, even these trollish, ridiculous sites get some things right. Broken Clocks and all that.
Why Would Apple Buy Sony Pictures?
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It’s unclear if Apple will buy Sony Pictures, but according to Yahoo Finance, the tech giant plans a “big acquisition.” In the report, Tim Cook’s list of potential acquisitions ends up including much more than just Sony. MGM Studios, A24, and even Netflix itself are on the list. So far as we can tell, Sony Pictures remains just one item on a long list of potential partners to beef up the content for Apple TV+. That the fledgling streaming service will cost $4.99 isn’t just a bold business strategy. No, the low price reflects that compared to outfits like Amazon Prime and Disney+, they just can’t compete where content is concerned. So, instead of dumping cash into hastily produced original content, Apple has the cash to just up and buy a studio already in that business.
Still, the question remains if Sony wants to offload its studio like 21st Century Fox did with Disney. Despite their recent successes with Spider-Man and James Bond, the studio can be something of a headache for their parent company. Sony makes much of its money selling devices, specifically the PlayStation and video games. Also, the email leaks from the studio in 2016 created a lot of problems for the company, including an international incident with a nuclear foreign power. While box office grosses are higher than ever, the film market is a lot less diversified than it used to be. Unfortunately for Sony, the focus on streaming in the future means they have to play catch up to newcomers like Amazon and traditional studios like Warner Bros.
What Happens to Spider-Man If Sony Pictures Gets Sold?
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If Apple will buy Sony Pictures, does that mean that they will own the rights to Spider-Man? This is a question without a clear answer. The details of the deal between Sony and Marvel are kept confidential, but leaks happen. The prevailing theory is that the rights to Spider-Man will revert to Disney should Sony Pictures be sold, according to Forbes. Though, even the author admits he doesn’t know the specific details of the deal. Also, worth noting is that without Spider-Man, the value of owning Sony Pictures drops considerably. They have James Bond, recent success with their Jumanji reboot, and a new Charlie’s Angels on the horizon. They also have access to their subsidiary studios’ franchises like Men in Black, Resident Evil, and Underworld. Still, no one puts butts in seats like Spider-Man.
Still, if Apple will buy Sony Pictures and keep the rights to Spider-Man, they might have an entirely different take on working with the MCU and Disney. Since original content can be costly (and the Apple TV+ subscription price is so low), they might feel differently about Disney’s cost-sharing proposal. Apple TV+ is too new to have an entrenched group of creative executives shepherding projects to the screen. They might welcome the chance to farm out that work to Kevin Feige and the rest of Marvel Studios.
What’s the Verdict: Will Apple Buy Sony Pictures?
Image via Sony Pictures
The short answer is: No one knows, even executives at Apple and Sony. Still, Apple is in the market for a company like Sony Pictures. So, Apple definitely plans to scoop up studios and other content houses to bolster their Apple TV+ offerings. Both Apple and Sony are primarily tech companies, but not exactly direct competitors. We’d put the likelihood that Apple and Sony started talks about a buyout offer at about 50/50. Even if they have, these negotiations take months and can fall apart at any moment. If Apple will buy Sony Pictures, there is a chance that Spider-Man and the MCU situation stays exactly the same. Apple TV+ might like the idea of building their own Spider-Verse in theaters and on their streaming service. Also, they have a place for Chris Miller and Phil Lord’s numerous Spider-Man TV shows in development.
It’s interesting to speculate, and fan reaction on social media could even end up influencing things like Sony’s stock price or the talks themselves. Yet, be wary of anyone citing vague “insider” sources suggesting that a deal is even on-the-table yet, let alone finished. Still, the Spider-Man and MCU Saga isn’t over yet. There’s a faint glimmer of hope on the horizon that Spider-Man can still pop up in the MCU for Captain Marvel to make fun of in order to put down all males everywhere.
What do you think? Will Sony Pictures end up sold? Who do you want to see handling Spidey? Sound off in the comments our give us a shout on social media.
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.