At last, our long national nightmare is over. 2014's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is coming to Disney+. In what Chuck Saftler, head of business operations for ABC, Freeform, FX Networks and Acquisitions for Disney’s Media and Entertainment Distribution calls a “landmark multi-year, platform-agnostic agreement,” Sony will license Spider-Man and “other Marvel properties” to Disney+ beginning in 2022.
The deal will run through Sony’s 2026 theatrical slate and “calls for Sony titles to run across Disney’s array of streaming and linear platforms.” This presumably means that you can finally watch Tom Hardy jump into a lobster tank in Venom or Andrew Garfield search Bing for his dad (or whatever happened in that movie) on any of the Disney-owned networks or platforms, including Hulu, FX, ABC and Freeform. This will also give Disney access to the rest of Sony’s theatrical releases, though they’ll still be released on home video, VOD, and Netflix first.
The six-year deal—plus the similar licensing deal Sony recently made with Netflix—will net the Japanese home-stereo equipment company roughly $3 billion and allow viewers to watch several different versions of Uncle Ben getting iced by a wrestling burglar. But really, Sony and Disney are doing it for the fans, Saftler says in a statement released to The A.V. Club: “This is a win for fans, who will benefit from the ability to access the very best content from two of Hollywood’s most prolific studios across a multitude of viewing platforms and experiences.”
The licensing rights for Spider-man have been a tricky web to untangle over the last 20 years. Originally owned by Sony, who released the first five Spider-Man films across the 2000s and into the 2010s, Disney made a partnership deal with the company, allowing Spider-Man to enter the MCU in 2015. The character has since been the subject of some tricky public negotiations as Marvel and Sony wrestle for control of the character and the billions of dollars he nets. In 2019, when renegotiating the deal, Sony walked away with a mountain of cash brought in by Spider-Man: Far From Home after Disney attempted to make a 50/50 split for the profits. Seeing as Far From Home was the biggest Sony release ever, they were lured back several months later by Spider-Man himself, Tom Holland, who reportedly appealed to then-Disney CEO Bob Iger and Sony Pictures chairman Tom Rothman. But now, it looks like all that’s “water over the dam, or under the bridge, or wherever you like it,” to quote a Sony Pictures Spider-Man movie.
Phew. For a second there, it really looked as though 2021 was going to be a bust, but now there’s hope that one day viewers can watch Morbius on FX.