The pitfalls of prerecording
So as any regular listener will probably have figured out by now, we have been prerecording the show since around March of 2020. I’m sure you can guess why. It’s been both a boon and a curse. It gives Vic and I the flexibility to record generally around our own schedules but it means we fall at least a day behind topics we might want to talk about.
Sure, we could talk about them the following week but by then it often feels too late. That was one of the reasons for this website in the first place. It offers a platform for us to add thoughts to things we talked about in our one hour a week that we get peoples ears. Some topics deserve more discussion than we are able to give them on air.
And sometimes a topic comes up that would have spurred some good conversation, just a day late. This weeks example is the rumors around Disney outright buying parts of (or the whole of…) Sony in order to re-secure the rights to everyone’s favorite superhero, your Friendly Neighborhood Spider-Man.
If you asked me even 5 years ago if this kind of merger was possible I would have laughed it off immediately. But we’re in a post-Lucasfilm and MGM-purchase age. That singular billion spent on the entire Star Wars universe is looking like chump change these days. James Bond went for nearly 9 billion, assuming the purchase passes the FTC. So is it impossible to think that Disney, and by extension Marvel, could spend as much just getting Spidey back under the Mouse umbrella?
As I’ve said on the show before, Sony is a MASSIVE media player. Arguably bigger than even Disney, especially if you consider things globally, Sony produces nearly 22% of all movies made among the major studios. And don’t forget, that’s not even where the majority of their money comes from (thanks, video games!).
It’s not like Disney is walking around hat in hand though, running 30 billion in revenue a year just in media alone. As of Q3 2021 they are also said to have over 16 billion just laying around in that legendary Disney vault. But even with the kind of money Disney has on hand, not to mention what they are capable of putting together if they should decide to pull the banks into things, I don’t think an outright Sony purchase is in the cards. A mutual merger? Maybe… but that runs into some potentially troublesome antitrust territory, since they would be forming a single entity that would be responsible for nearly 50% of ALL media.
If anything, buying back the Spider-Man rights seems much more likely, although that has it’s own set of problems. How do you buy the rights to a property from a company that is using those rights in things that aren’t movies? The Spider-Man video games have shown to be capable of generating plenty of wealth themselves, why would Sony suddenly want to start paying Disney for that right?
A much more complicated agreement could certainly be penned up (the lawyers *ALWAYS* are the big winners in things like this) giving Disney ownership of the web-slinger except in a laundry list of circumstances specific to Sony. Giving Disney that coveted full control of the character in the MCU without having to negotiate with anyone else and leaving Sony to do their existing video game work without outside interference. Maybe this is possible, but to me it seems like the more complicated a deal gets the more likely it is to fall apart at some point.
And why even bother? Spider-Man makes tons of money for both companies already. Sony gets 95% of box office bucks from Spider-Man movies (and a cut from every MCU movie he appears in) and Disney already gets 100% of merchandising money from him as well, which isn’t nothing either.
As we say so many times on the show, only time will tell. What do you think will be the end result? These are just rumors at this point, but as we all know, anything is possible.