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Spider-Man will remain in the Marvel Cinematic Universe
[NEW YORK] Your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man will stay in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after all.
Sony Pictures Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios, two companies that last month announced they could not agree on terms to continue working together on the live-action "Spider-Man" series, announced a reversal Friday, to the relief of the films' fans.
Marvel Studios and its president, Kevin Feige, will produce the third film in the "Spider-Man Homecoming" series, Sony and Disney jointly announced Friday. Spider-Man will also appear in another future Marvel Studios film.
The next "Spider-Man" film starring Tom Holland is scheduled to be released on July 16, 2021.
"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," Sony Pictures said in a tweet Friday. "We are delighted to be moving forward together."
The announcement came one month after the two companies failed to reach a financial agreement over their partnership of the Spider-Man film franchise. At issue had been who shared how much of the box office revenue and the production costs of the films in which the character appears.
The negotiation started in the most broad terms and Disney made a proposal last month that didn't work for Sony, said Robert Lawson, Sony's chief communications officer. "The conversation started moving to a better place and ended up where it is today — a better deal for us and Disney," he said. "It just took time."
The split ensured the superhero's departure from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, alarming fans. Under Feige's guidance, the MCU became a global phenomenon, encompassing 23 movies over 11 years, with $22 billion in ticket sales.
Sony purchased movie rights to Spider-Man before Disney bought Marvel Comics and its intellectual property, and the two studios have collaborated as Spider-Man, played by Holland, has gradually joined his colleagues Captain America, Iron-Man, Thor and the Hulk in the ever-expanding MCU.
After some of those characters ended their arcs in "Avengers: Endgame" this year, fans pinned their hopes for future story lines on the hints found in "Spider-Man: Far From Home," which was released this summer. The film positioned Spider-Man as an heir to the Avengers mantle.
Spider-Man is the only hero with the superpower to cross between Sony and Marvel's cinematic universes, Feige said in a statement. "As Sony continues to develop their own Spidey-verse you never know what surprises the future might hold," he added.
The studios joined forces in 2015, and since then Holland has appeared as Spider-Man in "Captain America: Civil War," "Spider-Man: Homecoming," "Avengers: Infinity War," "Avengers: Endgame," and "Spider-Man: Far From Home." Two previous Sony series of films featured Tobey Maguire and, later, Andrew Garfield, as the character.
As part of the deal, Spider-Man will also appear in a future Marvel Studios film. Amy Pascal will produce the upcoming film through Pascal Pictures. She produced the first two films featuring Tom Holland as Spider-Man.
"This is terrific," Pascal said in a statement. "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."
Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst for ComScore, called the decision an "important milestone in the whole evolution of Spider-Man with the MCU." and said he was impressed with the fan base's ability to influence the studios that control and produce the content.
"I'm so glad this worked out," Dergarabedian said. "Kudos to the studios for making it happen. The balance in the MCU is restored with the return of Spidey."
Sony's Universe of Marvel Characters encompasses over 900 characters from Spider-Man comics, Lawson said.
"Venom," a film released last year featuring one of Spider-Man's greatest foes, was the first in a larger "tent pole" movie strategy and grossed more than $80 million in its opening weekend. Sony is working on a "Venom" sequel and "Morbius," another villain film. Other projects are also in development and all will take place in Sony's cinematic universe, Lawson said.
After the announcement, Holland posted a clip on Instagram of Leonardo DiCaprio from "The Wolf of Wall Street."
"You know what? I'm not leaving," he yelled in the video. "The show goes on."
Zendaya, Holland's co-star in "Spiderman: Far From Home," tweeted a video of an animated Spider-Man dancing.
Fans and followers on social media rallied around the hashtag #SpiderMan to celebrate the news.