Why Sony Needs the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Posted: October 27, 2014 in Comic Book Study
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Image taken from marvel-movies.wikia.com

Ah Sony. The same company behind the Sam Raimi Spider-Man trilogy (two excellent films and an overpriced paperweight) decided to, rather than give the rights back to Marvel Studios, reboot the web slinger in a new series of movies, starting with The Amazing Spider-Man in 2012 and culminating (thus far) in plans for an entire expanded film universe, including an upcoming film for the Sinister Six, the constantly gestating Venom film (which may or may not involve Carnage), etc. But can Sony really pull off an entire film universe devoted solely to Spider-Man and his amazing but-not-really-friends? Probably, but definitely not on their own.

To begin with, let’s take a look at the box office. The newest spider films don’t even come close to the box office draw that the Sam Raimi films had; adjusted for 2014 numbers, The Amazing Spider-Man drew a little over $270 million at its peak domestically, while the original Spider-Man brought in over $500 million. That’s a pretty big difference. Yes, the argument can be made about the state of the economy now vs how it was ten years ago, or the frustration of seeing yet another reboot, but the fact is that Spider-Man isn’t as big of a box office draw as he was when Sam Raimi was still on board the series.

Image taken from wikipedia.org

Then there’s the issue of the actual films: what is Sony supposed to do with all of the characters? There’s only so many Spider-Man villains they can use without looking overly ridiculous (looking at you Hypno-Hustler), and Sony already mentioned that they don’t want to use Miguel O’Hara or Miles Morales to replace Peter Parker in the films, thereby eliminating any chance of pulling off a semi reboot/continuation of the franchise once Andrew Garfield doesn’t want to be Spider-Man anymore. Basically, Sony backed themselves into a corner with no real way out. Unless of course, they follow through on the rumors and actually work out a deal with Marvel.

The long standing rumor says that Sony and Marvel were/are exploring a potential partnership where the Spider-Man character will merge with the rest of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, allowing Marvel to use him how they please. What’s important for Sony though, is the potential for massive profits, as well as a tremendous boost in popularity for their films. Aside from being able to market Spider-Man alongside the Avengers with toys and other merchandise, we can infer that casual moviegoers will want to see more of the Sony Spider-Man films because of his new link with the Avengers. Not to mention, comic book fans will probably go berserk when they hear how two rival film companies manage to bury the hatchet and work together (now if only Fox would do a good complete reboot of the X-Men/Fantastic Four and start making deals with Marvel…)

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