SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING Producer on the Marvel / Sony Deal
Sony launched Spider-Man in 2002, a mega-success that preceded 2004 and 2007 sequels — both highly successful — and a 2012 reboot, The Amazing Spider-Man. After a mixed response and a good enough box office, The Amazing Spider-Man 2 followed in 2014 and, despite making just over $700 million worldwide, the film — “rotten” on review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes — isn’t considered a big financial hit, considering Spider-Man is one of the biggest on-screen IPs.
Sony had plans to continue the Amazing universe, including The Amazing Spider-Man 3 and 4, The Sinister Six, as well as spinoffs featuring Spider-Man characters Black Cat, Silver Sable and Venom (despite the termination of the Amazing franchise, Sony maintains a desire to utilize their Spidey catalogue for big screen spinoffs). In February 2015, a deal with a competitor, Disney-owned Marvel Studios, was reached: Spider-Man would be coming home.
Per the deal, Marvel Studios would be the creative producers on a new Spider-Man movie, and Marvel would get to use the webhead in their interconnected universe of films home to such franchises as Iron Man, Captain America and The Avengers. Sony would still hold the screen rights to the character, effectively loaning him out for Marvel’s use. Spidey, as played by Tom Holland, would make his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut in last summer’s Captain America: Civil War, and his next solo flick — Spider-Man: Homecoming, distributed by Sony Pictures — swings into theaters this July.
Collider spoke with former Sony head Amy Pascal, now a producer on Sony’s Spider-Man franchise, about the Sony / Disney deal that made such a collaboration possible:
“We made five Spider-Man movies, and we needed to do something different. And we tried doing a lot of different things as you all know and documented. But the thing that we hadn’t done was put him in the Marvel universe, and put him in a world where there are other superheroes. Because he was always the only superhero. And there’s only so many times that you can tell the story of, “I really want everyone to love me and if I tell them I’m Spider-Man, they’ll love me, but I can’t tell them!” We’ve told that story as many ways as I could figure out, and Kevin [Feige] and I had been working together since the very first movie, because he used to get coffee for [producer] Avi [Arad], if you can believe it. He was very good at getting coffee, though. He’s an even better producer, but he’s also good at coffee. So it felt like we needed to do something else and this felt like the right thing to do,” Pascal said.
“And Kevin and I had been talking for a very long time about that, and here’s the thing that I wanted, I emphasize for all of you, because I think this is really important and I don’t think it will ever happen again in the history of the movie business: You have three studios that came together to have this movie being made. No studio likes to share anything with anyone, let alone three studios. And truthfully—there is nothing cynical I can find in this statement—everybody did it because they wanted Spider-Man to be great. Truly, it was because Spider-Man is great, the character is great and people love him. That’s good for Disney. That’s good for Marvel. And that is certainly good for Sony. So, the fact that all these companies were willing to work together to make that happen—believing that everybody needed each other in order to have that happen. I think that’s pretty miraculous.”
When asked how many more appearances Spider-Man can make in the Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe — Holland’s Spidey will appear in Avengers: Infinity War after his blockbuster this summer, and Spider-Man: Homecoming already has a date set for its 2019 sequel — Pascal said, “I think we found the right formula and I think everybody is going to want the right thing to continue.
“And I think that there’s a, as I said there’s a surprisingly generous and cooperative thing and if it works for everybody, then it’s going to work for everybody. The thing is—and I always felt this way—if you worry about the movie and you worry about the story, all the politics take care of themselves. They just do. Because when the movies work, there’s enough for more than everybody. It’s when you start making the other stuff first that you start to get in trouble.”
Spider-Man: Homecoming opens July 7th.