How Sony Accidentally Created The MCU

marvel cinematic universe

At this point, it is safe to say that the MCU has firmly established itself as the most successful film franchise of all time. Other companies like DC have tried to imitate that success but have been unable to bottle that same magic. And believe it or not, it was originally Sony who had the first opportunity to create their own MCU, but in a decision they have no doubt regretted for years now, they passed on that deal.

Sony And Spider-Man

tobey maguire spider-man 4
It all started around 2002, before Sam Raimi released his first Spider-Man movie. To make the movie, Sony had to acquire the film rights to the character from Marvel, which was really struggling at the time.

The comic book company was doing so badly, that they actually offered Sony the film rights to almost every character in Marvel for just $25 million. Sony had the opportunity to create their own MCU right at their fingertips…but they said no.

No One Cared About Marvel?

spider-man 2 netflix
Former Sony business executive Yair Landau revealed that Sony did not believe anyone cared about any of the Marvel characters besides Spider-Man.

“The collective team decided they didn’t care about the other Marvel properties, that they didn’t want to invest in them,” said Landau.

“I was told, ‘Nobody gives a shit about anybody but Spider-Man.’  I thought they were idiots; that’s what I thought…  My marching orders were go back and just get Spider-Man.” So Sony willingly passed on a bargain price for the rights to their own MCU.

Could Have Had All Of Marvel

Robert Downey Jr Sony MCU
Instead, Sony paid just $10 million for the movie rights to Spider-Man. For just $15 million more, they also could have had Thor, Iron Man, Captain America, Black Panther, and so many more characters.

The only ones who would have been left out would have the Fantastic Four and the X-Men since Fox had already acquired the rights to them. But for all the rest, Sony could have attempted to make their own claim at the MCU and potentially all the success that would have entailed.

Could They Have Made The MCU?

Robert Downey Jr. Iron Man Sony MCU

However, it obviously is no guarantee that Sony would have been able to replicate Marvel’s success with the MCU.

After all, Sony’s latest film ventures have largely been duds outside of Spider-Man. Marvel Studios had to succeed through ingenuity and planning for the long term, as they were left without the film rights to their most recognizable characters.

Would Sony have been able to find the same success using characters whose stock at the time was much lower, like Iron Man? Not to mention characters like Ant-Man or the Guardians of the Galaxy.

Needed To Reboot Spider-Man

amazing spider-man 2 Sony MCU
Bear in mind, Sony even struggled with Spider-Man. ­Spider-Man 3 was so hated that it led to the character being rebooted.

And the Andrew Garfield Spider-Man films were not received much better. Ironically, it took Marvel Studios stepping in to help right the ship for Spider-Man through the Tom Holland films. So would Sony’s attempt at an MCU have simply fizzled out and been a story of squandered potential?

Time Will Tell On Some Characters

deadpool & wolverine Sony MCU

It is admittedly difficult to imagine Sony or any company elevating the MCU beyond the billion-dollar franchise it currently is. Fox similarly struggled with its own superhero movies to the point that they allowed Marvel to buy the rights back to the characters.

Perhaps the forthcoming Fantastic Four MCU movie and Deadpool & Wolverine will shed some light on the situation.

Are the characters that Sony and Fox wound up with difficult to create movies about? Or have they just been lacking the Marvel Studios touch all these years?

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