The licensing issues over Spider-Man are…weird. But Sony and Disney have come together to give fans easy access to his whole film catalog.
The licensing issues over Spider-Man are…weird. Technically, Sony owns the character so far as films are concerned. And yet, Tom Holland plays him in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which is owned by Disney. Disney and Sony have had their share of back-and-forth over how that works, but things seem mostly to have settled.
And now, The A.V. Club reports that the two companies have come to a deal that will allow Sony’s older Spider-Man movies — the ones starring Tobey Maguire and Andrew Garfield — to appear on Disney+. The deal also applies to “other Marvel properties,” so folks will likely also be able to stream the Venom movies, the upcoming Morbius movie, and others in that vein.
It all starts in 2022 and runs through 2026. Sony projects will run on “Disney’s array of streaming and linear platforms,” meaning we could also see Sony’s stuff on Hulu, FX, ABC and Freeform, although Sony’s future theatrical releases will first be released on home video, VOD, and Netflix.
Disney exec Chuck Saftler said the move is all about the fans. “This is a win for fans, who will benefit from the ability to access the very best content from two of Hollywood’s most prolific studios across a multitude of viewing platforms and experiences.” Sony also has to make these sorts of deals because they don’t have their own popular streaming service to release everything on, and honestly, I think that’s a good thing; the streaming wars are hot enough without another combatent.
So maybe Spider-Man exists in a strange business limbo between Sony and Disney; as long they continue to play nice, it shouldn’t cause any problems.