Sony Pictures Entertainment has struck a deal with Marvel Studios to allow Spider-Man to enter Marvel’s cinematic universe.
Sony acquired the film rights for the comic book hero in 1999 in a $7 million purchase from Marvel. Since then, the company has released five feature films, grossing $3.9 billion in the process.
Despite the financial success of the franchise, the film series went through a reboot five years after the release of “Spider-Man 3.” Sony and director Sam Raimi were unable to come to an agreement on several issues, which led to Raimi leaving the project, forcing the company to cancel a planned fourth film. In 2012, Sony started fresh with “The Amazing Spider-Man” with Marc Webb replacing Raimi and Andrew Garfield taking over the titular role from Tobey Maguire.
Under this new deal, however, Garfield will be left in the dust as Sony will look to recast the role of the masked super hero. Currently, “The Amazing Spider-Man 3” is set to be released on July 28, 2017.
Sony will still retain distribution, financial and creative rights over the film franchise, but the deal opens the door for Spider-Man to be included in several other Marvel films, including “The Avengers.”
With Marvel pushing forward with the Civil War story line from the comics, it is highly likely that Spider-Man could make his first appearance in a crossover role in next year’s film “Captain America: Civil War.” In the comic book storyline, Spider-Man plays a central role.
The agreement also creates a shift in release dates. “Thor: Ragnorak” was originally slated to be released on the same date as “The Amazing Spider-Man 3,” but will now be pushed to Nov. 3, 2017, while “Black Panther” will slide from Nov. 3 to July 6, 2017.