So it’s been known for a while now that parent company Sony Japan has been looking at the right time to sell off its Film and TV division.
Industry experts believe that Sony Pictures will inevitably be sold within the next couple years. There was even news just a few months ago that Apple maybe looking into purchasing Sony Pictures.
Then this Forbes article came along and pointed something very interesting:
“It's no secret that Sony Pictures is likely to wind up bought by another company at some point in the next couple of years, for all of the reasons the much larger and more successful 20th Century Fox did the math and realized they couldn't compete longterm in a marketplace requiring a larger stable of branded IP, global multimedia footprint, and marketing power than Fox had, relative to more financially successful and IP-laden studios. If and when Sony winds up in a merger with a company like Netflix, Amazon, or Apple, the Spider-Man IP will revert back to Marvel — and it's unlikely anyone currently involved with the IP at Sony will get a dime when that happens.
All of that said, though, if in fact a deal isn't reached, then one of two things will still happen. The first possible outcome is this: Sony makes their solo movies and it all works out fine for them, which leads to another studio stepping in to acquire Sony before the buying price goes up too much (as it would if the solo films continue being billion dollar earners while the spinoffs are likewise blockbusters, even though the IP won't transfer in a sale), and then the Spider-Man rights revert back to Marvel.
The second possible outcome is this: Sony makes their solo movies and it all goes badly, the studio spends more and more money on them while the box office diminishes (again), the spinoffs aren't as big of hits as hoped, the IP becomes a mess (again), and Sony's value drops until another company acquires them when the price is relatively cheap (to get their back library of content for a streaming service like Netflix, Amazon, or Apple), and then the Spider-Man rights revert back to Marvel.”
In other words, Sony needs to make as much money off of Spider-man and his friends IPs as soon as possible, because their window to do so isn’t long.
Disney on the other hand, can just take their time.
With Endgame coming to past just this year, Marvel likely won’t be making another big team-up Avengers type move anytime soon to include Spider-man in. It took 4 years of buildup after Iron Man to get to the Avengers; this could likely be the same plan at the start of Phase 4. Marvel’s movie slate seems to be full all the way through 2023, so the earliest team-up Marvel movie won’t happen until 2024 the earliest.
Between now and 2024, if what industry insiders are saying is correct, there’s a very good chance Sony Pictures will have been sold off in that time frame, resulting in Disney acquiring back the Spider-man and his friends license while they’ve used that time building up their new IPs from Eternals to the Fantastic Four and the X-Men, just right on time for the next big team-up movie to call for Spider-man back.
Based on the latest Deadline report, this might be one of the reasons why Disney, likely tired of dealing with Sony’s new head, Tom Rothman for the last half year, was not worried about pulling negotiations off the table when they couldn’t agree to the initial 25% that Disney offered about 6 months ago. They actually have the time and the slate to wait it out, whilst Sony... not so much.
With that said, hopefully both companies are still able to get a deal before all this has to come to past. It’s a win-win for all involved if that happens.