Disney and Sony have entered into a new multi-year agreement that will make Spider-Man movies available for streaming on Disney+. It is a post-pay-1 release window and these movies will be available on the streaming platform for the first time. The agreement covers other streaming services such as Hulu, and the official announcement claimed that this sort of agreement is unprecedented. Keith Le Goy from Sony Pictures Entertainment has called the agreement ‘groundbreaking’, stating that it is a key piece in their strategy for distribution. The agreement will help maximize the value of each film and make them much more accessible worldwide.
What does the agreement involve?
Platforms such as ABC, Freeform, FX are all involved. Although no specific plans have been laid out for Disney+, there has been speculation regarding when Spider-Man would appear. For certain reasons, the franchise hasn’t been able to become a member of the Marvel Cinematic Universe or MCU which is associated with Disney as well.
The deal secures exclusive rights in the US for the time period after the theatrical and Blu-ray release of the titles. The period is roughly nine months after they are released in the theatres. Disney’s deal will function after this when the movies generally run on television channels or other such broadcasting networks. The deal has similar undertones to the one that was signed between Sony and FX.
Along with titles that will be released, the deal also secures streaming rights for older movies. This also includes older Spider-Man movies that have till now been missing from the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Into the Spider-Verse will also be included in the agreement. Although it is now available on Netflix, the terms will change once the exclusive deal with Netflix expires.
Theatrical releases will shift to Disney after their runs on Netflix, within the years 2022 to 2026. Alongside Disney+ and all their cable networks, this will also include Hulu. Additionally, there will be multiple library titles added to the collection starting from June.
Possible terms of the agreement
There is no confirmation on how much money is involved in this agreement. However, as mentioned earlier, Keith Le Goy (Sony Pictures Executive) has stressed the importance of this deal. The companies have denied adding any comment regarding the numbers involved. However, claims have been made by those familiar with the agreement that the combined worth of the agreement could even exceed 3 billion dollars. Along with Spider-Man, rights to stream titles such as Jumanji and Hotel Transylvania are also part of the agreement made between the companies.
The official announcement also mentioned that the programming potential of Disney has grown tremendously with this agreement, marking them as key sources for the streaming and viewing of fan favorite movies. The titles added to Hulu will also be significant, and will be around June as well. Universal Studios, another important supplier for FX, recently terminated its long-term agreement with FX. With the major supplier out of the picture, the availability of Sony titles is a necessary boost for the TV network.
Official statements from the companies
Chuck Saftler, who is the head of Business Operations at ABC, Freeform, FX, and Acquisitions in DMED’s Network division, has lauded the agreement as one that guarantees “a tremendous amount of flexibility…and programming possibilities”. The agreement will increase the availability of award-winning films in their direct-to-customer services and other associated channels. This access to action and family films is a huge leverage for the organisation. Most importantly, he adds that this is a victory for the fans involved, as they will now have access to content from both studios. As two of Hollywood’s most renowned studios, the titles will be accessible across multiple platforms, making the process much more convenient.
Chairman of SPE motion picture Tom Rothman has claimed that the decision is reflective of the cultural impact that Sony Pictures has had on the film industry and market. Adding that the demand for this is huge, he says that “there is nothing like Sony Pictures’ outstanding slate freely available in the modern marketplace.”