With Disney’s acquisition of Fox just around the corner, it appears Sony is the last standing studio with rights to develop stuff around Marvel characters. And even though on the outset, it may look as if Sony has just one character in Spider-Man, there’s an entire universe of characters around New York’s web-slinger that they own, totalling some 900 characters in all. Sony is now going the Marvel Studios route and developing long-term plans for those characters within its own pocket of what it calls the Sony Universe of Marvel Characters.
In an extensive interview with Variety over restructuring its films and TV business to steer towards increased profitability, Sony CEO Tony Vinciquerra not only teased those plans, but also the possibility of them growing outside films.
We have the next seven or eight years laid out as to what we’re going to do with that asset, and that will not only be on the film side — it’ll be on the TV side. Our television group will have its own set of characters from within that universe that we will seek to develop.Sony CEO Tony Vinciquerra on their Spider-Man plans
The possibility of having Spider-Man themed TV Shows is quite exciting, even if they do not feature Peter Parker himself. Think Gotham without Batman, Smallville without Superman or Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. without the Avengers. To that end, TV Chairman Mike Hopkins hinted at something big and transformational headed our way soon, when talking about the TV slate.
We’re developing a lot of Marvel-related content, and I think we’ll be out in the market very soon with something really, really big and transformational for us, because we’ve not done any shows with Marvel before, with Marvel IP. [The team is] pretty far down the road in terms of working through which characters we think could be their own star of a series. So that’s a big piece of development that we’re onto.Sony TV Chairman Mike Hopkins on their Marvel Plans
However, for fans concerned whether Sony Pictures will jump onto the streaming services bandwagon, the studio is not looking in that direction and is quite happy to serve as a content creator. According to the duo, there’s a tremendous opportunity to supply content to pre-existing streaming platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime and others and they harbor no desires of aping Disney+ and coming up with their own platform anytime soon.
This should certainly help quash those whispers that keep doing the rounds about Sony Pictures getting acquired. Even if it contributes a very small 12% of Sony’s overall revenue (with an even less 6% in operating profit), the studio is not looking to give up its Marvel arsenal yet. And with the huge box-office success of Venom and the critical and commercial success of Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (not to mention an Academy Award win for Best Animated Feature), there’s definitely an audience for Marvel content created by Sony.