Sony divorce with Disney costs Spider-Man his place in MCU

Los Angeles: The friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man is set to exit the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) after the talks between Sony Pictures and Disney fell through.

According to Deadline, the two studios were engaged in discussions to renew the deal that enabled the web slinger's appearance in the money-minting MCU.

Disney, which owns the Kevin Feige-led Marvel Studios, had demanded that it wanted to split future Spider-Man movies in a 50/50 co-financing arrangement, that also meant a 50/50 split in the profits.

After Sony declined to agree on the new terms, Disney removed Feige and Marvel as producers of the future projects.

In a statement, a Sony spokesperson said, "Much of today's news about Spider-Man has mischaracterised recent discussions about Kevin Feige's involvement in the franchise. We are disappointed, but respect Disney's decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live action Spider-Man film."

The spokesperson further said that the studio will continue to work on Spider-Man films, even though Marvel will not involved in their production.

"We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him including all their newly added Marvel properties do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own. Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue," it added.

Since its acquisition of the character's film rights in 1985, Sony has been involved in all Spider-Man films.

The studio delivered the highly-successful trilogy in the 2000s, starring Tobey Maguire in the title role with Sam Raimi as director.

After Maguire's departure, Andrew Garfield took on the mantle of playing the web slinger on the big screen with two movies -- "The Amazing Spider-Man" (2012) and "The Amazing Spider-Man 2" (2014). However, these films could not replicate the success of Raimi's movies.

It was in 2015, when Sony surprised all the Spidey fans as it revealed its deal with Marvel that would ensure the character's appearance in the MCU.

British actor Tom Holland was cast as the new Spider-Man, debuting with 2016's "Captain America: Civil War".

Holland went on to reprise the role in two "Avenger" films as well as two solo projects, most recent being "Spider-Man: Far From Home".

The news comes as a shock also because just few days back, Sony had announced that "Far From Home" has become its highest-grossing movie of all time with over USD 1 billion gross at the global box office.

Sony was already working on two more stand-alone Spider-Man movies which would bring back director Jon Watts and Holland.

The studio is also developing its own catalogue of Spider-Man spin-offs, starting with Tom Hardy's "Venom" and the upcoming "Morbius".

Hardy is set to return as the anti-hero in the sequel, to be directed by Andy Serkis.

A sequel to its Oscar-winning animated feature "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" is also in the pipeline.

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