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Fans Start Petition Against Sony Demanding Spider-Man Be Kept In The MCU

The fans have spoken about the failure of Sony Pictures and Marvel Studios to re-up their shared custody agreement of Spider-Man, and their message is clear: get it done.

A Change.org petition urging Sony to come back to the negotiating table is picking up serious steam, with over 80,000 signatures so far. The petition was started by a user named Nate Phillips, and Nate is a guy with some pretty strong feelings about the situation.

His comment accompanying the petition reads: "After the news today that Sony walked away from their deal with Disney, I cannot in good faith stand by while Spider-man and his fans around the world become collateral damage. Spider-man in the MCU has brought some of the best moments in modern cinema history. SONY you must let go of this property or renegotiate with Disney to keep all of the fans happy. Please join me in standing against Sony who I'll be boycotting until this matter is properly resolved. Share this petition and let's make our voices heard!"

Spider-fans making their voices heard — loudly and angrily — is a development which Sony's brass has to have seen coming. Very shortly after the news broke that negotiations between the two studios had failed to bear fruit, the studio released a statement expressing their disappointment — and pointedly placing the blame squarely on Marvel for the talks breaking down, in what could easily be seen as an attempt at preemptive damage control.

"We are disappointed, but respect Disney's decision not to have [Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige] continue as a lead producer of our next live-action Spider-Man film," a spokesperson for Sony Pictures told The Hollywood Reporter. "We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him — including all their newly added Marvel properties — do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own. Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue."

The statement alludes to the fact that a great many Marvel characters, including the X-Men and Fantastic Four, have recently become eligible for inclusion in the MCU after Disney's acquisition of the film and television assets of Fox Studios earlier this year. It also implies that Feige was simply too busy to take on any more Spider-Man movies; we're going to go out on a limb and say that this is probably not the case.

In contrast to Sony's statement, it's been reported that inside sources insist that the talks broke down over money. Under the terms of the deal negotiated in 2015 which allowed for Spidey's entry into the MCU, Sony reaped all of the profits from the wall-crawler's solo films (which it produced, with Marvel's creative input) while Marvel retained all of the box office dollars from its films in which the character appeared. These films — Captain America: Civil War, Avengers: Infinity War, and Avengers: Endgame — each took in well over a billion dollars at the worldwide box office, as did Sony's latest MCU-set Spidey effort, Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Apparently, Marvel felt that it deserved a little more of the credit — and cold, hard cash — for Sony's success in revitalizing the solo Spider-Man franchise. According to those sources (which have remained anonymous), Disney was seeking a 50/50 co-financing deal on future Spidey films, an offer which Sony's Tom Rothman and Tony Vinciquerra reportedly turned down cold, declining to even make a counter-offer.

A later report by THR cast a little doubt on these details, however; it maintained that Disney had been seeking only a 30 percent stake, not 50, and it also indicated that the success of Far From Home may have greatly complicated matters. According to THR, the talks had been taking place for some time before the flick's release, with both sides feeling that they had the upper hand; Marvel came to the table certain that anyone should be able to see that Spidey's box office resurgence was mostly (if not solely) due to his inclusion in the wildly popular MCU, and Sony was equally convinced that dealing with Marvel was simply no longer necessary.

When Far From Home broke the bank — becoming the highest-grossing Spider-Man movie of all time, and Sony Pictures' best performer ever to boot — it had the effect of reinforcing both sides' thinking, which is why the partnership fell apart so quickly after what could be seen as its greatest success.

Of course, at the end of the day, Spidey-heads don't really give a rip about the ins and outs of the negotiations — they just want their Spider-Man in the MCU, and despite Sony's explanation and assignment of blame to Marvel, it's pretty clear (especially perusing the comments on the petition) that fans feel that it's Sony who has taken that away from them.

We're quite sure that this entire situation only just begun to play out, and we remain hopeful that Spidey hasn't slung his last web in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Thousands of fans clamoring for his return certainly can't hurt — they are, after all, the ones who buy the tickets. We'll continue to keep our ears to the ground for any developments, and we'll keep you informed.