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Sony Could've Bought The Rights To Every Marvel Character In The '90s

If you had $25 million laying around in the '90s, you could've purchased the movie rights to all of Marvel's characters. Sony definitely had that kind of cash to spare, but the company passed. You have to believe they regret it now.

The story comes from Wall Street Journal reporter Ben Fritz, who is set to release a book about the movie industry called The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies. In an excerpt from the book, Fritz reveals that when Sony Pictures tried to secure the movie rights to Spider-Man back in 1998, they could've purchased the rights to all of Marvel's characters for $25 million (or $38 million in today's dollars). About a decade later, Disney bought Marvel for a staggering $4 billion.

Of course, at the time, Marvel wasn't exactly in the shape it is now. Back then, Marvel was struggling and declared bankruptcy in 1996. Action figure company Toy Biz eventually bought the company, but it wasn't until the release of the first X-Men movie in 2000 that Hollywood really started to pay attention to the Marvel universe and its potential on the big screen. After all, previous Marvel movies like Dolph Lundgren's The Punisher didn't exactly set the world on fire.

According to Fritz, Sony was only interested in the rights to Spider-Man. Marvel countered with the rights to all of their characters (or at least the big ones), but a Sony executive reportedly said, "Nobody gives a s*** about any of the other Marvel characters. Go back and do a deal for only Spider-Man." Sony then snagged Spider-Man for $10 million. 

Check out the excerpt below. The Big Picture will be available on March 6.