Saving Spider-Man: Why Sony is partnering with Marvel

The two entertainment companies - Sony and Marvel - are hoping the comic book super hero can help them earn profits and good publicity.

John McConnico/AP/File
In this 2004 file photo, a man looks at an advertisement for a 'Spider-Man' movie in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Michael Lynton, the new chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Entertainment, just became a super hero to Spider-Man fans by making one of his first major acts to team up with Marvel and, hopefully, rescue the character. 

Sony really destroyed Spider-Man in the movies,” says Matt Desiderio, manager at the iconic Forbidden Planet Comics in New York City. “With the exception of the Sam Raimi films, all the Spider-Man movies by Sony have been weak. So Spider-Man going to Marvel is a great idea because all their movies have been amazing.”

According to a press release on the Marvel website: “Under the deal, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film from Marvel's Cinematic Universe (MCU). Sony Pictures will thereafter release the next installment of its $4 billion Spider-Man franchise, on July 28, 2017, in a film that will be co-produced by Kevin Feige and his expert team at Marvel and Amy Pascal, who oversaw the franchise launch for the studio 13 years ago. Together, they will collaborate on a new creative direction for the web-slinger. Sony Pictures will continue to finance, distribute, own and have final creative control of the Spider-Man films.”

"We always want to collaborate with the best and most successful filmmakers to grow our franchises and develop our characters. Marvel, Kevin Feige and Amy, who helped orchestrate this deal, are the perfect team to help produce the next chapter of Spider-Man," Sony Pictures CEO Lynton said in the release. "This is the right decision for the franchise, for our business, for Marvel, and for the fans."

Fans on social media largely agree with Desiderio’s take.

“OH JOY FINALLY YES SPIDEY IN THE MCU!! I HAVE WAITED FOR THIS DAY TO COME!!*” wrote one fan in response to the announcement on the Marvel website.

The hashtag #WelcomeHomeSpidey quickly criss-crossed the web.

While fans are eager to see Spidey go back to Marvel, others may wonder why Marvel would be so keen to take him on and why Sony would want to split the revenue stream with Marvel.

As a property, Spider-Man is a high earner for Sony. The balance to that is that the last two Amazing Spider-Man films on average cost about $250 million apiece.

According to the website Boxoffice Mojo, which lists the most expensive movies of all time, Spider-Man 3 comes in at No. 7 with a cost of $258 million and a return of $890.8 million.

For Sony, sharing the profits also means sharing the costs while opening up new story lines that make fans cheer and long for movie tickets.

Meanwhile, Marvel has suffered a similar issue with the Avengers storyline which may have been evidenced back in January when the comic giant announced it was ending the series in the comic books.

According to The Associated Press, Marvel's meticulously calibrated movie release schedule has also been altered by the new partnership.

"Thor: Ragnarok," originally scheduled for July 28, 2017, will hit theaters Nov. 3, 2017. "Black Panther" will debut on July 6, 2018, back from its Nov. 3, 2017, release; "Captain Marvel" is set for a Nov. 2, 2018, release; and "Inhumans" will now debut in theaters July 12, 2019.

“They’re pushing films back and my hope is that in the case of Captain America Civil War that means getting Spider-Man back into the plotline because, frankly, I still can’t imagine how they are making that storyline work without Spider-Man in it.” Desiderio says. “While the speculation is that the movies are being delayed in order to add in Spider-Man, I hope it’s mainly for the Captain America plotline and not to just toss him in, because that’s going to make it look hack.”

"Avengers: Infinity War Part 1" and "Avengers: Infinity War Part 2" will still be released on May 4, 2018, and May 3, 2019, respectively.

[Editor's note: The original story misspelled the names of Matt Desiderio, manager at the iconic Forbidden Planet Comics in New York City and director Sam Raimi ]

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