Sony hits out at Marvel’s Spider-Man split
SONY said it is "disappointed" following its split with Disney over Spider-Man, putting the blame on Disney and vowing to carry on the franchise.
The entertainment giant has owned the film rights for the beloved superhero since 1999 and struck a deal with Disney in 2015 allowing the character to appear in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige had taken a key creative role in the last two Spider-Man films, starring British actor Tom Holland, and successfully integrated the webslinger into its multi-billion dollar MCU.
However, fans were left disappointed after it emerged Spider-Man's future in Marvel's cinematic output was in doubt after reports Sony and Disney, which owns Marvel, had failed to come to a suitable financial agreement for future movies.
In a rare public statement shared on Twitter, Sony Pictures said it "respects" Disney's decision not to allow Feige to take such a big role in a franchise it does not own, and hinted a deal could be done further down the line.
It said: "Much of today's news about Spider-Man has characterised recent discussions about Kevin Feige's involvement in the franchise. "We are disappointed, but respect Disney's decision not to have him continue as a lead producer of our next live action Spider-Man film.
"We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him - including all their newly added Marvel properties - do not allow time for him to work on IP (intellectual property) they do not own.
"Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue."
Feige works across Disney's superhero stable as a producer and is one of the most successful filmmakers in history. The MCU has generated billions in box office receipts, with Avengers: Endgame becoming the highest grossing film of all time.
News that Spider-Man is all but removed from the Marvel universe will come as a bitter blow to fans after the character had taken on an increasingly key role in the films.
Disney, which purchased Marvel Studios for $US4 billion ($A5.9 billion) in 2009, is yet to comment publicly.