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Jeremy Renner, known for his portrayal of Hawkeye in the Avengers films, has taken to Instagram to request that Sony Pictures bring Spider-Man back to Disney. It was announced on Tuesday that Spider-Man would cease to be a part of the ongoing Marvel Cinematic Universe—which Disney owns.
“Hey @sonypictures we want Spider-Man back to @therealstanlee and @marvel please, thank you #congrats #spidermanrocks #please,” he wrote in the caption of a photo of himself in one of the Marvel films.
Though Sony’s bargaining position can easily be understood, Renner’s great ask echoes the broad (and mischaracterized) sentiment of Marvel’s worldwide fanbase. Disney made demands for a more significant stake—a rumored 50% profit split—in the franchise, to which Sony balked.
Disney, in fact, walked away from the table when Sony requested the companies maintain their most-recent arrangement. Marvel sold the film rights to Spider-Man to Sony in 1998 for $10 million, 5 percent of the films’ first-dollar gross, and 50 percent of the revenue from consumer products.
Much of today’s news about Spider-Man has mischaracterized 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. (1/3)— Sony Pictures (@SonyPictures) August 21, 2019
The popular Spider-Man character, currently portrayed by 23-year-old actor Tom Holland, has five blockbusters, grossing over $8 billion, to its name. Spider-Man: Homecoming and the most recent release, Spider-Man: Far From Home have grossed nearly $2 billion combined. Perhaps providing tremendous leverage for Sony, the latter has become the company’s highest-grossing film, at $1.1 billion.
Holland has appeared as Spider-Man in three other MCU films, including this year’s Avengers: Endgame. The animated film Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse also proved a massive success for Sony Pictures and netted an Oscar.
Holland, who has been silent about his character’s split from the MCU on social media, is still set to portray the web-slinger in two more films.
*Update, per @DEADLINE: Jon Watts is NOT signed on for a third #SpiderMan movie, so his involvement moving forward is unclear. As for Tom Holland, the actor confirmed in 2016 that he is signed for 3 solo movies, but reports indicate Sony plans 2 more films w/ him, which makes 4 pic.twitter.com/7oGuwPNEXx— Erik Davis (@ErikDavis) August 21, 2019
Renner will continue on as Hawkeye in a new Disney+ series, slated for a 2021 release. But will the two characters ever cross paths again? That’s up for Sony and Disney to sort out.
Kahron Spearman is a music and film critic whose work can also regularly be regularly found in the Austin Chronicle.