Does Sony Really Understand Their Marvel Properties?

Screenshot 2017-11-13 13.43.21Let’s see if I understand…Sony is moving full-steam ahead on their own corner of the Marvel Comics universe and recently announced features based on Venom, Silver Sable, Black Cat and most recently Morbius, the Living Vampire?

And let’s forget for a moment that Sony doesn’t exactly have a stellar record with managing their Marvel properties (Spider-Man 1 & 2?  Pretty good.  The Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2?  Not so much) which is why I approach their latest development with such reticence.

And writers MATTER because what ruined The Amazing Spider-Man movies was not the direction, but the writing by Roberto Orci and Alex Kurtzman.

Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless are in negotiations to write Morbius.  If you’re not familiar with Sazama and Sharpless, they worked on Dracula Untold, The Last Witch Hunter, and Gods of Egypt, and Power Rangers.

What do all those movies have in common?  Every single one (arguably excluding Power Rangers) tanked at the box office.

And that’s not to say that the Morbius adaptation can’t be absolutely brilliant, though I wouldn’t hold my breath on it.

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Sony’s Bug Problem


And while spiders are arachnids, not bugs, bear with me and all come clear.

Spider-Man: Homecoming makes its North American debut today, and some pundits believe that it will ensnare an opening somewhere in the ballpark of $100 million.  If this bears out it would make the movie the fourth of 2017–joining Beauty and the Beast, Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2 and Wonder Woman–to reach that milestone.

Though–at least at the moment–Sony only plans to work with Marvel Studios on Homecoming and its sequel, and that’s problematic not only for that reason, but because they’re also planning movies based on Venom, Silver Sable and the Black Cat, all outside the Marvel Cinematic Universe (known as the MCU).

This is a terrible idea because one of the reasons Spider-Man: Honecoming is projected to do as well as it is is because Spider-Man is returning to the MCU, which people are interested in seeing, while Sony’s upcoming movies will likely not have this version of Spider-Man, if any at all.

As I said, it’s a problem because you’re not only taking away the context that Venom currently exists in–which is the MCU–you’re potentially taking away the reason Venom himself exists (the symbiont originally chose to bond with Spider-Man.  Only when it was rejected by him did it turn its attentions to Eddie Brock).

So Venom (as well as Silver Sable, Black Cat and whichever other Spiderverse characters they intend to use) existing outside the MCU is problematic.

Though without Spider-Man?

That’s more than a problem; that’s a disaster for Sony.  For Marvel?

Not so much, especially when you take into account that while they never actually needed Spider-Man he’s back (albeit temporarily) and the MCU version has appeared in Captain America: Civil War and Spider-Man: Homecoming and with three movies on the way (Avengers: Infinity War, an untitled Avengers movie as well as a sequel to Homecoming).

If Sony were smart–or smarter, after all they did have the foresight to cut this deal with Marvel Studios–they would ensure that the Spiderverse remain in the MCU with a deal a similar to that that they reached with Spider-Man (which would probably have Marvel Studios getting a cut of the box office, perhaps in exchange for contributing to the costs of production).

It’s certainly worth a thought.