Thursday, June 25, 2015

Finally, Marvel Controls the Fate of Spider-Man on Screen

Marvel and Sony may be partners, but only one can be in control. Credit: Sony Pictures.

Welcome to the show notes for issue 37 of +The Full Bleed. This week's news issue goes between the panels to examine the tone of a joint press release issued by Marvel and Sony in which the two companies announced Tom Holland as the new Peter Parker and Jon Watts as director of the next Spider-Man solo film, due in theaters on July 28, 2017.

What's billed as a partnership in the lede of the release comes off much differently when you read the quotes. Specifically:

  • Sony Pictures Chairman Tom Rothman expressed a high degree of confidence in the "Marvel process," which he described as very thorough and the reason Marvel Studios' box office results have been "outstanding."
  • Producer Amy Pascal, who worked directly with Marvel Studios boss Kevin Feige to choose Holland and Watts, used her time in the release to talk about the need to find a "vibrant, talented young actor" who could bring "Spider-Man's story to life in the Marvel Cinematic Universe."
  • In each case, top executives are all but saying that Spider-Man is to be handled by Marvel Studios with Sony's role limited to putting up money for production, marketing, and distribution. If so, great. Not only is that a symbolic win for Marvel but it's also a likely financial win for Sony, especially if the studio's handling of distribution includes getting the biggest cut of proceeds from DVD, Blu-ray and digital download sales, which tend to command extremely high profit margins. (Both The Marvel Movie Report and the DC Movie Report include the impact of home video sales when calculating estimated profit margins.)
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