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Spider-Man's Ownership Gets Less Tangled

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Throughout his existence, Spider-Man's been caught in the middle, like BJ Leiderman, who writes our theme music. Spider-Man has been caught between girlfriends, his personal and superhero life and between the corporation that owns him and the one that currently makes his movies.

That last thing got settled yesterday. It was announced that Spider-Man will appear once more in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. NPR's Andrew Limbong has more.

ANDREW LIMBONG, BYLINE: If there's one thing Tom Rothman, the chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment's Motion Picture Group, wants to get across is that everyone left the negotiations happy.

TOM ROTHMAN: And it's a win for Sony. It's a win for Disney. And it's a win for the fans.

LIMBONG: Here's the abridged history of events. When it comes to movies, your friendly neighborhood Spider-Man is licensed by Sony, who made those three movies with Tobey Maguire and two with Andrew Garfield. After Disney bought Marvel Studios and started cranking out connected blockbusters known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, they struck a deal to essentially rent Spidey from Sony in the form of Tom Holland.

(SOUNDBITE OF FILM, "SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING")

TOM HOLLAND: (As Spider-Man) Here's my report for tonight. I stopped a grand theft bicycle - couldn't find the owner. So I just left a note.

LIMBONG: When the movie trades reported over the summer that the terms of that agreement were at a standstill and Spider-Man would no longer be a part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans were apoplectic.

ROTHMAN: Fan emotion is something that anyone who works in pop culture has to take very, very seriously. And, of course, we did. I mean, the way I would say it is, you know, with a great character comes great responsibility.

LIMBONG: Rothman denied there was any real conflict - just the usual ebb and flow of negotiations. But now that the dust has settled, here's what we know for sure. There will be at least one more Spider-Man movie, due out in summer 2021.

ROTHMAN: Then Spider-Man will also appear in one Marvel picture.

LIMBONG: And, Rothman adds, the Spider-Man universe is growing. There is a sequel to the animated hit "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse" on its way and other Spider-adjacent movies Sony is currently developing. Andrew Limbong, NPR News.

(SOUNDBITE OF PETE ANTHONY'S "END CREDITS") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.


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