Spider-Man: Gone?

The stupidity over this development has gone through the roof. Seriously, what are y’all doing? What are y’all doing? We don’t really know the details of what’s been offered and turned down. There are leaks coming from people on both sides; how much of any of them are true is something that none of us know. Like any other public dispute, you got to assume that anything being leaked is to fulfill an agenda and nothing more. There may be kernels of truth in them but nothing you should just take at face value. Disney wants you to think they’ve been getting jobbed all this time and Sony wants you to think that Disney is making unreasonable demands. Disney is counting on fan sentiment and desire to keep the current Spider-Man fare and guest appearances in the MCU going. Sony is leaning on some people’s fear that Disney is just getting too damn much real estate and power in the entertainment business. That’s all this is. Is Disney justified to ask for a bigger cut than they’d been getting given that they were doing all the production work? Sure. Is Sony right to look at what Disney wants and say thanks but no thanks? You bet. Should we sit back and let them figure it out instead of allowing them to weaponized our feelings and negotiate through the press? Well duh!

Both sides had to be willing to get up from the table, and both of them have. Until production on a Sony made Spider-Man movie with no involvement from Marvel Studios begins, it’s not too late to make a deal. Of course they’re going to publicly play the ‘oh well, moving on’ game, and Sony may actually mean it. But even they may change their tune should public opinion get too much against them. Right now there are people on social media saying that they just won’t go see a Sony Spider-Man movie that’s not a part of the MCU. I used to dismiss that kind of talk but that was before people legit did not go see Justice League over Zack Snyder not finishing the film himself, and Dark Phoenix tanked this year. That kind of threat is not to be ignored in this day and age and Sony should be very afraid of that.

There is some silliness on both sides that I gotta talk about, though.

Raging against the machine, for the machine

‘Disney is getting too big and powerful’ is a take that’s been floating around for over a year now. The biggest driver of that from I’ve seen is their acquisition of Fox studios last year, but this fight over Spider-Man has added a lot of fuel to the fire. And it looks extra scary when you look at the 2019 box office, where half of the top 10 are Disney films and that’s before Frozen 2 and Star Wars Episode IX. Those five films have all crossed the $1 billion threshold while several films from competing studios that were thought to be surefire monster hits have fallen short of expectations. So it looks like Disney didn’t just do well for themselves, they also squeezed out some money that other people were looking to bring in.

But how much of that is perception and not reality? Disney unloaded a ton of stuff this year so that they’d have more content for Disney+, flooding the theaters so much that at one point you had Avengers: Endgame, Aladdin, Toy Story 4 and The Lion King all going at the same time and forcing a lot of competing films to lose screens a lot faster than usual. Just a year ago, Disney had four of the top ten for the year and only three hit the billion dollar mark. In 2017 it was four and two, respectively. So 2019 looks more like an anomaly than part of a trend and 2020 looks like things will take a dip with no Star Wars on the schedule and only one live version of an animated classic in Mulan.

So yeah, the takeover scenario is a bit overblown. Disney isn’t even worth as much as some of it’s competitors like Warner Bros and yes, Sony. Now does it look bigger because of what it owns, particularly Lucasfilm and Marvel Studios? Yes, because those two properties occupy so much entertainment real estate along with the traditional Disney characters and Pixar. But they don’t own all the territory so much as they own most of the successful territory and that’s a different thing. A successful 2020 by it’s competitors against a much smaller footprint of their own can go a long way towards evening things up.

But railing against Disney while carrying the Sony flag ain’t it, chief. Even if you’re like me and think Sony shouldn’t just give Disney whatever they want, that’s about as far as you should be willing to go. Sony is not a victim here at all and is in no danger of being put out of business by Disney. In fact they’re big enough to buy up a bunch of smaller studios themselves so be careful just how much you cheer for them against someone like Disney. They’re not the good guys here, ok?

Y’all really gonna blow off Spidey like that?

So on the other side of this I gotta shake my head at people who have decided two years or more out that they’re just gonna skip whatever Sony does with the character if Marvel Studios isn’t involved. Really? Is it that serious? You gonna let a money dispute between studios stop you from going to a movie about one of pop culture’s biggest icons, starring someone all you guys are saying has been damn near perfect in the role? We riding that hard for Disney now? Are we really so wed to one way of doing superhero movies that everything else is unacceptable?

“But it won’t be any good” How the hell do you know that? Sony made all the pre-MCU Spidey movies that were very well received and they made Into the Spider Verse. To act like they’re not capable of it at all today is kinda silly. “They also made that wack Venom movie” And? Nobody’s batting a thousand out there. If it is good, and you choose to sit it out to spite Sony, that’s a win? Man, I guess. Sounds kinda childish to me. So either you skip it on principle or you go see it but with a preset opinion that it’s gonna be terrible and you nitpick everything for two hours. All because Disney and Sony couldn’t reach a deal. Again, that’s y’all not me.

So what to do?

My advice, if you care for it, is to wait and see. Until Sony actually starts production on a Spidey film without Marvel then this is all much ado about nothing. I still believe they will come to terms some kind of way, but I don’t see the point in going all caps on Twitter about it. Some of y’all gotta get a grip already and stop doing things like threatening to not get a PS5 to spite Sony. I mean, come on already. Marvel has enough lined up to move on but at the same time Kevin Feige is lying to y’all when he’s acting like they didn’t have big plans for Spider-Man in the MCU. And if Sony has any brains (which is up for debate) then they know they can’t win a perception battle no matter how good of a movie they make. So hold and don’t give up, it ain’t over yet.

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