Op-Ed: SONY’s Dreams Of A Spider-Verse Are Unraveling

Published: February 22, 2024

Ever since the Marvel Cinematic Universe was introduced multiple studios have tried desperately to compete with it and create their own version. Warner Bros. with the failed DC Extended Universe, Universal with the Dark Universe, 20th Century Fox with an X-Men Universe and lastly SONY with a universe centered exclusively around Spider-Man.

The idea was originally going to be tied to the Andrew Garfield interpretation of the character, but after the underwhelming reception of The Amazing Spider-Man 2, SONY made a deal with Marvel to allow Spider-Man to join the MCU as long as they had certain control and a revenue share.

After the success of Spider-Man: Homecoming in 2017, SONY moved forward with their plans and released Venom in 2018, which was initially received well by fans. It wasn’t long until SONY started green-lighting other projects like Venom 2, Morbius, Kraven the Hunter, and Madame Web.

Ever since Spider-Man: No Way Home, there have been uncertainties with the future of Spider-Man himself. SONY, wanting to get the fan’s attention, tried to imply that their films were connected to the Tom Holland Spider-Man, even including Vulture from Homecoming at the end of Morbius teasing a potential Sinister Six film.

But with each new release, the series keeps seeing a decline in both reception and box office returns. Venom 2 wasn’t as well-liked as the first and didn’t make as much as the original. Morbius was so bad that it became an internet meme. And now the series’ latest film, Madame Web, is being received so poorly that the franchise’s future is being called into question.

One thing that could be contributing to its downfall is brand confusion since it is marketed to be “In association with Marvel” yet has nothing to do with the MCU. The very idea of doing a solo Spider-Man universe opposite of Marvel is like having a solo Batman universe separate from the DC Universe (which is what WB is doing).

Kraven the Hunter, which was originally meant to be released in 2023, will be released later this year, with the El Muerto film starring Bad Bunny being officially shelved with no sign of it coming back.

The Silk: Spider Society series that was being developed for Amazon Prime is now being completely reworked as a reaction to the Madame Web failure. There is still no news about the Spider-Man Noir show that was also said to be in development.

SONY is reportedly still trying to hold on to the idea of having their own shared universe with names like Black Cat, Silver Sable, Nightwatch, Jackpot, and Prowler all being thrown around; Even a potential live-action Miles Moralis Spider-Man film has been discussed. But the franchise’s future doesn’t look very good at this point.

SONY and Marvel are currently rumored to be arguing over what direction to take Spider-Man in with a fourth Tom Holland film. They may be trying to use the film as a way to relaunch their failing franchise, but at this point, it may be a lost cause. Unless Kraven and/or Venom 3 can pull big box office numbers, SONY will have to accept that fans have little interest in the concept.

What do you think? Can SONY’s Spider-Man Cinematic Universe be saved? Or will the web unravel into nothing? Let us know your thoughts. 

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