Matthew Ball @ballmatthew Venture investor, strategist, essayist, that guy on Twitter. Prev. Head of Strategy @AmazonStudios, ex-Otter Media, @MediaREDEF. 🇨🇦 Aug. 26, 2019 2 min read

Asked a lot about the Disney/Marvel + Sony breakup over ‘#SpiderMan’. There are five key drivers here.

#1: 2018’s ‘Venom’. Poorly received (29% RT, B+ CinemaScore, 6.7 IMDb), but huge success. 6th most profitable in 2018. Gives Sony belief it doesn’t need Disney

#2: 2018’s ‘Spider-Verse’. The film underperformed commercially (worst ever box office, despite A+ CinemaScore), but was creatively superb (Oscar) and gives Sony more confidence it doesn’t need Disney. Not just about ability to deliver profit, also ability to tell great story.

#3: 2019’s ‘Spider-Man: Far From Home’. Performed +30% on ‘Homecoming’, +65% (w/ lower costs) of Sony’s two ‘Amazing Spider-Man’, but not as high as thought. Won’t beat ‘Captain Marvel’, as first after ‘Endgame’ and given ‘Iron Man’-focus, should have done $1.3-1.5, not $1.1B

If you’re Disney, this means the Spider-Man appeal/value actually isn’t that enormous in film (it’s #1 in comic merch). Only matched brand new character, Cap Marvel. Why not focus on IP you own.

If you're Sony, it Disney partnership isn’t really delivering THAT much extra profit.

Had "Spider-Man: Far From Home" done $1.3B (+17%), it might have delivered +40% more profit.

That would have helped Disney's request for a greater share of profits, too.

#4 – And even if Disney is delivering a $100-150MM in incremental profit versus a Sony-made Spider-Man… that’s every three years

In exchange, Disney gets to lift ITS Marvel films with Spider-Man. Worse, Sony can't.

The real cost isn’t Disney’s ask for more revenue share but…

The fact Sony can’t use Spider-Man to float its spinoffs… like Venom, or Black Cat, or Mobius.

And now Disney has rebuilt the brand equity in the character that Sony had previously eroded… but can now cashed in on

Ultimately, this resembles the Disney/Netflix partnership. It works for a while, then it simultaneously works for neither. Disney gave up a lot by ceding 1/8 movies to Sony’s ‘Spider-Man’, even if it helped two others. Sony did too.

It can work provisionally, but not forever

#5: Making matters worse, the past three years have taught us that the threshold for IP is MUCH, MUCH higher than we thought.

Sony couldn't let it's very, very best IP drive only one film every three years, let alone with Disney taking a greater share 

Fin/ I'm still optimistic on a deal, but I suspect Disney would have to give the vast majority up... and they've little incentive to.

You can follow @ballmatthew.


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