- Sep 24, 2005
- Reaction score
In short, apparently Sony is pumping out 3 spidey films super quickly so that they can squeeze out the money, leave the character dry and sell the character to Disney/Marvel for a FAT cheque.
After Sonys announcement this week of release dates for several more Spider-Man films in their ongoing franchise, I mentioned in my coverage that the news might hint at a change of address for our favorite wall-crawler. My belief is that after Sony completes the current series of Spidey films, Marvel-Disney might negotiate with Sony to allow the superhero to move over into the Marvel cinematic universe alongside Iron Man, Captain America, and other heroes. Read on for my assessment of the sort of deal Sony might be inclined to accept!
Sony is currently making The Amazing Spider-Man 2, which releases in 2014. And they are planning to make part 3 for release in 2016, and part 4 for release in 2018. So far, Sony has invested nearly $850 million producing four Spider-Man movies, which made about $3.25 billion at the worldwide box office over a period of 10 years. That means they came out ahead by about $2.4 billion, broken up over a decade, and minus all the percentages paid out all over the place. Theaters probably kept perhaps 20% or so of that box office, remember. Sony made good money, no doubt about it, but keep these nuances in mind for a moment as we consider what Marvel-Disney might have to offer instead
After Sony releases their fourth Amazing Spider-Man film in 2018, then I think Marvel-Disney will enter negotiations with Sony over the continued development of Spider-Man films. I believe one of two things will happen: Either Disney will offer a flat $3-4 billion plus points on future Spidey films, in exchange for Sony letting Marvel-Disney take the character and put him into their movies; or Disney will pay some smaller amount of money plus points in exchange for Sony co-developing Spider-Man films with Marvel-Disney that fit into the Marvel cinematic universe.
For Marvel-Disney, having Spider-Man within their larger universe and co-staring in their team-ups is worth huge money beyond just what the individual Spidey solo films bring in. Sony doesnt have that added crossover incentive, so to them the franchise is worth only what they get through the solo Spider-Man films plus the merchandising (Disney regained the licensed merchandising rights in a deal with Sony a couple of years ago).
So, if you are Sony, you can either spend a total of about seven years after 2018 developing and releasing all of the films for yet another fully rebooted trilogy (plus a couple of years to put space between the sets of films) with the expectation that your roughly $650+ million investment will pay off to the tune of around $2.5 billion (in future dollars that, due to inflation, slowly become less valuable so to speak); or, you can take $3-4 billion up-front all at once, which is like getting $1 billion per film in a trilogy without any production expenses plus no wait time for each new payoff, plus points on any Spidey films Marvel-Disney make.
The first option is a gamble requiring them to bet with their own money and wait years for each payout, the latter is a sure thing paying more than theyd likely get betting their own money. Sure, theres the trade-off that they dont get to make several more sets of Spider-Man trilogies decades down the road, but with shared points on Marvel-Disney films and the added more immediate higher value of the cash buyout, the future earnings are offset by the benefits of a deal with Marvel-Disney.
Whats worth more twelve years from now, the share of points on a Sony solo Spider-Man film, or a smaller piece of Marvel Avengers sequels staring Spider-Man alongside other superheroes? Would it be easier to make that choice if you also get $3-4 billion in hand today, without any investment of your own and no delays? And if those future smaller points dont require any investment from you either?
Marvel-Disney will essentially being buying out the NEXT Spider-Man trilogy from Sony with an overpayment for the films and additional money toward any additional reboot after that, plus percentages on box office income (again without Sony investment beforehand) that wont necessarily match what Sony wouldve gotten making solo Spidey films themselves but its free money with less risk.
I think Sony will be inclined to agree to a deal like that, after Marvel-Disney present them with details of Marvels plans for the future and the investment comparisons.
For Marvel-Disney, its worth paying $3-4 billion and points to get Spider-Man back, because a Marvel Spidey film set within the superhero universe theyve built will have instantly more attraction for audiences. The Marvel brand is so powerful that adding it directly to the Spider-Man brand creates a whole new level of power behind the branding, and Spider-Man will be able to appear in other superheros solo movies in cameos and then show up in Avengers movies to add even bigger draw to those films. Marvel will make back their $3-4 billion payment eventually just from the Spider-Man films alone, but they also get all the benefits of him appearing in their other films, and the sheer buzz and legitimacy of having the character exist within the Marvel cinematic universe. The potential for developing the character within a full Marvel universe is just enormous.
Dont get me wrong, I love the Sony Spider-Man films and think theyve done a great job with the character, and Im excited to see the next three films of the current series. But just imagine if this current excellent Spider-Man series had crossover with the Marvel films, and if this Spider-Man was recruited by Nick Fury to help out in the next Avengers film pretty amazing to contemplate!
So I salute what Sony has done and is doing in the future with Spidey, and I am glad theyve had the character and made these excellent films. But, over time I think theyll decide to sell the rights back to Marvel, and well get a great new addition to the Marvel-Disney films.
What do you think, dear readers? Does my prediction make sense? And what do you think about the prospects of Spider-Man making his way into the Marvel movies? Sound off in the comments below!