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Marvel Studios is one of the biggest powerhouses in the box office right now, but they, unfortunately, don’t own all the rights to the characters in the franchise. Sony famously holds on to the rights of Spider-Man, but as it turns out, they could have owned the entire Marvel Universe had it not been for a young Sony Executive by the name of Yair Landau.
As per the Wall Street Journal (via MovieWeb), Marvel was ready to sell off most of its major characters to Sony for a measly $25 million back in 1998; with Marvel not being as big as it was then, the deal would have made a lot of sense compared to what the franchise is worth now.
Yair Landau comes in when then Marvel head Ike Perlmutter was trying to sell off the other characters of the franchise (e.g., Iron Man, Thor, Doctor Strange, Black Panther, etc.) to Sony. Landau was only after Spider-Man, and declined the offer, even saying something close to:
“Nobody gives a sh!t about any of the other Marvel characters. Go back and do a deal for only Spider-Man.”
Little did Landau know that two years later Fox would release X-Men, and thus would start the superhero boom of Hollywood. Now we’re getting 3–4 superhero movies a year, and each release makes a lot of money.
Now Sony is trying its best to milk what they can out of the Spider-Man property, but a lot of the fanbase agrees that Marvel Studios is the only one who was able to get the character right. Sure Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man movies made a lot of cash, but that pales in comparison to the money that the MCU has gathered since 2008.
Now Spider-Man is (sort of) back at home with Marvel Studios, but the status of other characters like Venom, Silver Sable, and Black Cat are still up for question. Sony is planning to release their Venom movie later this year, but a lot of fans agree that the character isn’t worth squat if he won’t be facing off with Spider-Man at some point.
Hopefully Marvel and Sony will be able to iron out all the kinks to their Spider-Man deal. It’s clear Sony doesn’t know how to deal with the characters properly, and Marvel has already helped them cast the perfect Spider-Man with Tom Holland.
Sony’s Spidey spinoff, Venom, comes out Oct. 5.