Sony Pictures, which has been the steward of the franchise since 1999, is partnering up with Disney-owned Marvel Studios to bring a new version of the Spider-Man character to life.
As part of the revamp, the new Spider-Man will first appear in a Marvel film. The companies are not revealing details but that movie is likely to be Captain America: Civil War; the character was a major player in the comics storyline. Andrew Garfield is not expected to reprise the character.
Once the character is re-launched, Sony will then release a new Spider-Man movie on July 28, 2017. Marvel’s Kevin Feige will join Amy Pascal as a producer on the new movie. The duo will “collaborate on a new creative direction for the web slinger,” according to the companies. Ari Arad and Matt Tolmach, who were producers on the previous movie, will now executive produce.
There is also talk of looking for ways to integrate characters from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as the Marvel movies are known, into future Spider-Man films.
The move is a major team-up for two rival studios. Spider-Man has been Sony’s most lucrative franchise, but the most recent installment, The Amazing Spider-Man 2, disappointed. Disney’s Marvel has had unprecedented success with its hero films.
Sony, however, will retain the final creative control and continue to finance, distribute, own the new movies.
Said Feige: “Marvel’s involvement will hopefully deliver the creative continuity and authenticity that fans demand from the MCU. I am equally excited for the opportunity to have Spider-Man appear in the MCU, something which both we at Marvel, and fans alike, have been looking forward to for years.”
“This is the right decision for the franchise, for our business, for Marvel, and for the fans,” said SPE’s chairman and CEO Michael Lynton.
The Spider-Man pact is already having a ripple effect on the Marvel slate, with four titles getting new release dates.
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Thor: Ragnarok has been moved to Nov. 3, 2017 from its July 28, 2017 date. Black Panther will now open July 6, 2018, moving from Nov. 3, 2017. Captain Marvel moved to Nov. 2, 2018 from July 6, 2018, while Inhumans is slotted for July 12, 2019, from its original Nov. 2, 2018 date.
The Spider-Man move has been speculated for some time. Among the fanboy crowd, talk of a partnership between the companies arose last summer after the poor reception of Amazing Spider-Man 2.
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Although the movie made $708 million worldwide, it was the lowest of all the franchise entries. More critically, the movie was widely panned by fans. Talks were confirmed when emails leaked during Sony’s hacking crisis although they seemingly broke down in the fall.
When Feige was asked about the rumored partnership at Marvel’s townhall in October, he responded coyly, “Anything that wasn’t specifically and obviously revealed today is either not true at all, or still rumor until it’s worked out.”