We’ve all heard the story of when Netflix approached Blockbuster seeking an alliance only to be turned away amid ridicule. We know what happened next. The streaming service that nobody trusted ended up burying movie rental services.
It is not the first time that a company’s lack of vision ends up costing it dearly. Kodak , for example, was the first company to develop the digital camera, however it decided not to pursue that market line so as not to affect the sales of its films.
Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios failed to reach an agreement on the multi-million dollar rights to Spider-Man, which could mean that the character in his incarnation by actor Tom Holland may no longer be part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) . Marvel Studios takes only a percentage of the profits generated by Spider-Man in the Homecoming and Far From Home films because the character officially belongs to Sony, but Deadline says Disney was looking to increase its stake by 50 percent.
What not many know is that Sony may have owned the Marvel characters. The Asian company has been the licensee of Spider-Man, but some years ago it had the opportunity to buy the rights to The Avengers.
It was the year 1998 and Marvel Comics was emerging from bankruptcy. For this reason, its entertainment division offered the rights to its most iconic characters to all film studios.
According to The Wall Street Journal , the new book The Big Pictures: The Fight for the Future of Movies by Ben Fritz, tells the story of a young executive named Yair Landau who was in charge of buying the rights to Spider-Man for Sony Pictures. As Marvel Entertainment was looking for capital to survive, CEO Ike Perlmutter offered Sony the rights to Iron Man, Thor, Black Panther, Ant-Man and more for just $ 25 million.
Landau recognized immediately the incredible opportunity that had come to Sony and brought the proposal to his bosses. However, Sony’s top executives responded by saying, “Nobody gives a damn about the other Marvel characters. Get only the rights to Spider-Man. “
Marvel managed to place its characters with other studios. Indeed, Sony Pictures e was left with the rights only to Spider-Man and related characters, while 21st. Century Fox took over the Fantastic Four and the X – Men. The Walt Disney Corporation acquired Marvel Studios to take over all the other properties of the brand (let’s not forget that recently Disney announced the future purchase of the Fox subsidiary).
In 2005 a young comic book enthusiast named Kevin Feige became president of Marvel Studios and convinced Disney to bet on a small movie called Iron Man. The rest, as they say, is history. 10 years away, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has generated more than $ 13.474 billion in revenue for Disney.
Sony Pictures’ decision is sure to weigh on their heads. For an investment of only a few million dollars, it was able to establish itself as the largest entertainment company in the world.
“In hindsight it is very easy to say ‘how silly’, but the reality is that Sony made the best decision it could with the tools it had at the time,” says Iván Morales, editorial director of Cine PREMIERE .
The expert also recalls that in 1998, when the negotiation took place, superhero films were not popular, since there was only the success of Tim Burton’s Batman in the 80s and that no one could guess what the genre was going to achieve.
Ironically, Sony ended up reaching a deal with Disney for Marvel Studios to use Spider-Man in their stories because the films he had produced alone did not have the expected impact. It remains to be seen how the new Spider-Man works turn out now that Disney is out of the game.
Can you imagine what the MCU would be like if Sony had kept the rights?