Sony Pictures is having a hugely successful run with its Marvel licensed characters in recent days. Their biggest gamble in Venom, a Spider-Man villain spinoff without the title character, proved to be a huge box office success, earning more than $800 million worldwide, as per Box Office Mojo. Sony’s latest film, an animated film based on multiple iterations of Spider-Man, Spider-Man Into The Spiderverse, was not only a critical and commercial blockbuster, but the film recently won an Academy Award for Best Animated Feature Film at the 2019 Academy Awards.
In an in-depth conversation with Variety, Sony Pictures Television Chairman Mike Hopkins discusses the company’s plans with the Marvel properties, which include future film and television content.
As per the same Variety report, Sony currently holds around 900 Spider-Man adjacent characters in their stable of Marvel characters. Since Venom is considered to be a Spider-Man villain, they are able to use the character in their content. This is also the case with the upcoming Morbius film, starring Jared Leto in the title role of another Spider-Man villain, which has already started production, as Screen Rant recently reported.
As outlined in this illuminating Collider report, while Sony retains the rights to the largest character in this deal, Spider-Man, a collaborative deal with Disney allows the latest live-action film version of the character being played by Tom Holland to appear in the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films from Marvel Studios.
The details of that deal are still largely unknown, specifically in relation to whether Holland’s Spider-Man can appear in Sony’s subsequent Marvel characters’ movies or the fate of this iteration once the deal with Marvel Studios expires. While speaking to Variety about their plans for Spider-Man content, Sony Pictures Entertainment Chairman Tony Vinciquerra discussed what’s currently in development.
“We have the next seven or eight years laid out as to what we’re going to do with that [Spider-Man] asset, and that will not only be on the film side — it’ll be on the TV side. Our television group will have its own set of characters from within that universe that we will seek to develop.”
Most licensing deals for intellectual property licensed to film studios provide a clause that if there are no active productions or content being developed with the characters, the rights typical revert back to the owners after a certain time. This is how Marvel Studios kicked off the MCU with their first film, Iron Man, as the rights expired and reverted back to Marvel from New Line, as explained by the WIPO Magazine.
Hopkins discussed possible collaboration with Marvel for their television properties in the conversation with Variety.
“We’re developing a lot of Marvel-related content, and I think we’ll be out in the market very soon with something really, really big and transformational for us, because we’ve not done any shows with Marvel before, with Marvel IP.”
Currently, Morbius is in production with a release date of July 31, 2020. No other confirmation any other future Spider-Man projects by Sony has yet been announced.