Whenever fans tend to forget it, the complicated and sometimes fragile balance in the film rights ownership for Marvel’s Spider-Man usually raises its head. Sony Pictures via Columbia bought said rights from Marvel decades ago, to create a series of live-action movies including the Sam Raimi/Tobey Maguire trilogy. When Marvel launched its own film studio, they could not adapt Spider-Man due to Sony’s ownership; and when Disney acquired Marvel, Sony had less reason to give the rights up. Thankfully, Disney and Sony came to a sharing agreement in 2015 allowing Spider-Man to be part of the MCU. But said sharing deal also kept the MCU “Spider-Man” films from Disney+ streaming.
But now as Polygon tells us, Disney-Marvel and Sony Pictures have inked a new licensing deal that will finally see “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” “Spider-Man: Far from Home” and any future “Spider-Man” films set in the MCU will finally debut for streaming on the Disney+ service, alongside other superhero movies and series in that franchise. With this landmark agreement, Disney can now boast holding almost the entire MCU library on their exclusive streaming platform. Of course, the deal also includes some benefits for Sony Pictures, which distributes the “Spider-Man” films to cinemas.
Said Disney/Marvel-Sony agreement will last several years, and with the concession for MCU Spider-Man to stream on Disney+, he will also be accompanied by some choice content from Sony and its subsidiary studios. Therefore expect Sony properties like “Hotel Transylvania” to make its way to either Disney+ or Hulu, or even affiliated TV networks like ABC and FX. As for future “Spider-Man” movies, they must first make their streaming debut on Netflix after premiering in theaters as part of another multi-year deal by Sony granting the streaming giant first-run rights (US only). Once the minimum streaming availability period is done however, any Sony “Spider-Man” films are going to Disney+ next.
All these arrangements are said to be effective sometime this coming June, meaning Hulu would soon be able to stream Sony content again. As Sony Pictures Entertainment Worldwide Distribution and Network president Keith Le Goy puts it, “This agreement cements a key piece of our film distribution strategy, which is to maximize the value of each of our films, by making them available to consumers across all windows with a wide range of key partners.”
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