Just a week and change after we outlined Disney+'s unfortunate decision to axe the Lizzie McGuire reboot likely due to the company's apparent moral woes with allowing a 30-year-old woman to get some, it seems the platform has made a strong comeback in the ever-competitive streaming wars, signing a new "content licensing agreement" with Sony to bring Spider-Man to their streaming services.
Running from 2022 to 2026, the deal allows Disney's streaming platform to act as the long-term home for all of their new releases in this time period while possessing the rights to many of Sony's other popular films like Jumanji and the Hotel Transylvania series. As this catalog also includes several Spider-Man films, this means that the friendly-neighborhood web-slinger “could eventually make their way to the streaming service," The Verge noted. Furthermore, “a significant number of library titles” from Sony will head over to Hulu in June, according to a statement on the deal.
"This agreement cements a key piece of our film distribution strategy," Sony Pictures' president of worldwide distribution said of the contract. "Which is to maximize the value of each of our films, by making them available to consumers across all windows with a wide range of key partners."
However, like most things involved in Disney and Sony's notoriously tense IP contracts, there's a catch designed to prevent an IRL version of the two Spider-Mans pointing at each other. A few weeks ago, Sony signed another deal with Netflix, giving the streaming service exclusive rights to films for 18 months. As such, Disney's platforms will only host Sony's content in the year and a half after its release, which according to the tech outlet, is an arrangement “Disney arguably values more” than having the films first.
One way to understand, exactly this agreement will work is to look at the syndication plans for the latest Spider-Man series's third installment, Spider-Man: No Way Home, CNN Business noted. Scheduled to come out in December, the film will finish its time on the big screen before finding one way home on Netflix for 18 months. Once a year and a half has elapsed, Spider-Man will then swing to Disney's various streaming platforms for the forseeable future, more likely than not, Disney+, which is where the company generally offers its Marvel films and television programs.
However, as The Verge pointed out, adding Spider-Man to Disney streaming repertoire would not fully complete their Marvel collection – The company still does not have the streaming rights to 2008's Edward Norton-led The Incredible Hulk, which is currently owned by Universal, the one studio Disney hasn't managed to poach yet, and is streaming on Prime Video and YouTube Movies among other pay-per-view rental services.
Finally, something Disney can't buy!