For fans of Marvel’s web-swinging Friendly Neighborhood superhero, the latter half of the year must have felt like a close shave where the Marvel Cinematic Universe was concerned. Mere weeks after the successful release of “Spider-Man: Far from Home,” Marvel Studios and Spider-Man film rights holder Sony Pictures had a deal re-negotiation that fell apart, potentially banning the wall-crawler from further MCU appearances and solo films. Spider-Man’s portrayer, British actor Tom Holland, was saddened by the news and told the press so. Then the following month Marvel and Sony inked a new agreement to maintain MCU Spidey. Just how much did Holland’s sentiments influence this?
If coming from Tom Holland’s own words recently, then probably a lot according to E! News Online. The aged 23 British actor relates on yet another “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” on ABC Wednesday, December 4, that a phone call he received from Bob Iger, CEO of Disney which is parent company to Marvel Studios, might have led to a dialing down of new terms between them and Sony which scuttled the original sharing agreement that led to “Captain America: Civil War,” “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Endgame,” and “Far from Home.” But in Holland’s own words, he had a few drinks while talking to Iger.
Tom relates how he and his family back in the UK went to a local pub and, after he has had three pints down, got a call that he surmised was from Disney’s Iger. After considering his intoxication level, Holland remarked, “You don’t give Bob Iger, like, a schedule. You’re like, ‘Whenever, Bob.'” The actor was already aware of the Marvel-Sony breakdown, and thanked Iger on the call for his opportunity to play the role. The Disney boss then replied that they hoped to make the deal work again. After contacting Sony Pictures chair Tim Rothman and discussing Holland’s call, a new arrangement was forged.
When Marvel sold the film rights to several of its major superheroes since the 1990s, Sony got Spider-Man, which led to the films starring Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield. When Marvel, later acquired by Disney, began building the MCU film franchise, it became a dream to be able to feature Spider-Man in the setting, which normally would require Sony to revert the rights.
The two companies instead worked out a deal that had Marvel Studios produce, with distribution dependent on if it was Spider-Man solo (Sony) or part of an MCU event (Marvel), with Sony getting full revenue out of “Homecoming” and “Far from Home.” The earlier disagreement was due to Disney proposing that box-office earnings of future Spider-Man solo movies now be split rather than go fully to Sony.
Interestingly, Bob Iger himself lent credence to Tom Holland’s story about “saving” MCU Spider-Man, which he related in a previous appearance on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!”
Image from The Hollywood Reporter