“I Don’t Feel So Good, Mr. Stark”

The MCU Cancellation of Spider-Man


Photo courtesy of: djedj/ Pixabay

The Marvel Cinematic Universe has cancelled Spiderman as the rift between Sony and Disney grows.

Information in this article is current as of Sept. 23, 2019. On Sept. 27, 2019, Sony and Marvel announced that Spider-Man is back in the MCU.

“With great power comes great responsibility.” These words have been uttered in almost every film iteration of the classic comic book character Spider-Man. The only absence of this classic phrase is in the newest and most profitable version of the web-slinger to date, Tom Holland’s Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) interpretation. 

Holland’s Peter Parker first appeared in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War to the immense pleasure of fans worldwide. Especially after the generally considered failure of 2014’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, viewers were happy with the fact that the MCU didn’t need to waste time on an origin story that even non-comic book readers know. With this change of form, Marvel was able to start Spidey’s solo movies without hesitation, launching Spider-Man Homecoming in 2017 and Spider-Man Far From Home in 2019. 

All of this information about Spider-Man’s success is good to know… because it’s looking like this will be the extent of its success. As of now, a rift between the two companies sharing the rights to the character, Sony and Disney, has caused the character to be removed from any later MCU movies.

The backstory behind this fallout is based on something that has become synonymous with the word Disney: money. Disney reportedly barely financed Far From Home and then asked Sony to split the profits 50/50. While this has been proven to be incorrect (Disney financed 25 percent and asked for 25 percent in return), this does not change the fact that Peter Parker is no longer an Avenger.

Fans were outraged, but this anger seemed to be directed only at Sony. The reasoning behind this is that when Sony CEO Tony Vinciquerra spoke about the split, he claimed that Marvel CEO Kevin Feige was “stretched incredibly thin” due to the Disney-Fox merger and that that was the main reason for the removal, and that “Spidey will do just fine outside of the MCU.” 

Many fans remembered Amazing Spider-Man 2 at this point, and how the reception of that movie almost killed the studio, and thought that Feige and Marvel’s respective roles in the success of the new Spider-Man were severely downplayed.

The truth of the matter is, however, that Sony does not in fact need Marvel’s help at their current rate. According to Forbes, “Amazing Spider-Man made up 19 percent of their 2012 grosses while Venom and Spider-Verse represented 47 percent of their 2018 grosses… it is a calculated risk that 100% profits from an MCU-less Spider-Man series is worth more than 50-70% of the profits from an affiliated Spider-Man series.”

What this means is that the amount Sony is making on their solo Spider-Man projects such as Into the Spiderverse (of which they get 100 percent of the profits) is greater than the amount from the MCU that they would then have to split with Disney. 

Marvel themselves will of course not have any problems making money without Spider-Man, as they were consistently hitting close to the billion dollar mark even before the introduction of the web-slinger. They do, however, lose the opportunity to continue the story they set up for the character in the post-credits scene for Far From Home. No spoilers, but it was a cliffhanger they clearly wanted to explore in the next movie (which will not be existing).

Renegotiations between Disney and Sony have been officially put on hold, because as of Sept. 19, many companies including Apple, Amazon and Netflix are currently looking to buy Sony Pictures. Who knows what wrenches this could throw into any potential future agreements, but it’s safe to say that none will happen any time soon. 

Spider-Man as a character will definitely be making more big screen appearances, but it is unclear when they will be. Until then, fans can enjoy Spider-Man: Far From Home on DVD Oct. 1.