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On Friday, the two companies jointly announced that Marvel Studios and its president, Kevin Feige, will produce the third film in the "Spider-Man: Homecoming" series. It will once again feature Tom Holland reprising his role as the titular hero. The rumor mill roared back to life this week with hints that the two companies were close to brokering a new agreement.
Over the summer, news broke that the Disney, Marvel's parent company, and Sony had reached an impasse over a new financing deal. Disney wanted the film to be financed on a 50/50 basis, with Feige remaining in a consulting producer capacity. Sony is believed to have proposed keeping the arrangement under the current terms, which stipulate that Marvel receives about 5% of first-dollar gross and all merchandising revenues.
The new deal was signed late on Thursday night. Negotiations involved top players from both studios, including Sony Pictures chief Tom Rothman, Feige and Walt Disney Studios head Alan Horn. In exchange for lending Feige's producing prowess, Marvel and Disney will receive roughly 25% of the profits, according to insiders. Disney will retain its merchandising rights. As part of the arrangement, Spider-Man will also appear in one future Marvel Studios film.
The film is scheduled for release on July 16, 2021. Amy Pascal will also produce through Pascal Pictures, as she has on the first two Holland-led films.
"I am thrilled that Spidey's journey in the MCU will continue, and I and all of us at Marvel Studios are very excited that we get to keep working on it," Feige said in a statement. "Spider-Man is a powerful icon and hero whose story crosses all ages and audiences around the globe. He also happens to be the only hero with the superpower to cross cinematic universes, so as Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold."
Pascal was equally euphoric in her statement. "This is terrific," she said. "Peter Parker's story took a dramatic turn in 'Far From Home' and I could not be happier we will all be working together as we see where his journey goes."
Marvel has licensed the rights to Spider-Man to Sony for nearly two decades, an agreement they forged prior to Disney's $4 billion acquisition of the comics company in 2009. Sony achieved critical and financial acclaim with its first round of Spider-Man movies, which were directed by Sam Raimi and starred Tobey Maguire. Its second effort, starring Andrew Garfield and directed by Marc Webb, were far less successful, sending the studio back to the drawing board.
By bringing Marvel and Feige back into the fold with 2017's "Spider-Man: Homecoming," the studio was able to recapture the creative mojo of the first series. It also got a boost from having Holland's web-spinner appear in Avengers movies, with Spidey becoming a key member of the super-team. Sony said it was pleased that a deal had been reached
"We have had a great collaboration over the last four years, and our mutual desire to continue was equal to that of the many fans," said Robert Lawson, chief communications officer for Sony Pictures Entertainment. "We are delighted to be moving forward together."