Sony Pictures and Disney on Friday announced that the Spider-Man character would be staying within the Marvel Cinematic Universe, ending a disagreement between the two companies over profit-sharing.
Fans had been left shocked and distraught last month when the two studios announced Marvel Studios was parting ways with the Sony Pictures Spidey franchise, effectively removing the version of Peter Parker played by Tom Holland from the MCU.
But the two companies announced in a press release on Friday that they had made up and would jointly produce a third film in the Spider-Man Homecoming series.
For the first time, Disney will also co-finance the Spider-Man movie, and will share in roughly 25% of the profits from the film, a source with knowledge of the deal confirmed to BuzzFeed News.
The as-yet-untitled new movie will star Holland and will debut on July 16, 2021.
"As part of the arrangement, Spider-Man will also appear in a future Marvel Studios film," the statement added.
"I am thrilled that Spidey’s journey in the MCU will continue," said Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige, "and I and all of us at Marvel Studios are very excited that we get to keep working on it,”
While Disney controls the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Sony has owned the movie rights to Spider-Man, arguably Marvel's most famous character, for decades.
The original split between Disney and Sony over the character came down to profit sharing, with Disney originally seeking a fifty-fifty split with Sony over its future Spider-Man movies produced by Feige — especially after Spider-Man: Far From Home, released in July, became Sony's all-time highest grossing film worldwide, not adjusting for inflation
Sony balked at an even-split arrangement, which led Disney to remove Feige and Marvel Studios as producers of Sony's future Spider-Man films in August.
While neither studio totally foreclosed the possibility of a reconciliation, much of the fan outcry over the separation appeared directed at Sony rather than Disney. The terms of the new deal — with Disney sharing a quarter of the profits for a movie released by a rival studio — suggests that Sony ultimately relented under the reality that Spider-Man's current success is tangled up with the MCU.
Sony, meanwhile, is still charging ahead with its own slate of films based on characters drawn from the Spider-Man comics, including expected sequels to 2018 hits Venom and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
None of those films are officially a part of the MCU, nor produced by Feige and Marvel Studios. But in the press statement, Feige alluded to the possibility that Holland's Spider-Man could still appear in Sony's solo Spider-Verse movies.
“Spider-Man … happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes," Feige said, "so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse, you never know what surprises the future might hold.”