TV & FILM
brian-mcgee - February 16, 2018
It seems impossible to believe in this day and age, but not that long ago, superheroes were bad for business. In the days before the first X-Men movie, superheroes were considered toxic unless they had a big name like Batman or Superman. If you need further proof of this, check out the deal Sony turned down when they were negotiating for the rights to Spider-Man.
In a new book by Ben Fritz titled The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies, the author reveals that during Marvel's bankruptcy filing in the late 90s, a Sony Pictures executive named Yair Landau nearly brokered the deal of a lifetime. According to The Wall Street Journal, Marvel chairman and terrible human being Ike Perlmutter tried to sell Sony the rights not just to Spider-Man, which they wanted, but also Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Ant-Man—basically everyone that's had a movie or is going to have a movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—for a measly $25 million.
Slam dunk for Sony, right? Well, you overestimate just how stupid movie studios are. When Landau presented this deal to the brass at Sony, they told him the following...
"Nobody gives a sh—about any of the other Marvel characters. Go back and do a deal for only Spider-Man."
So for $10 million—slightly less than half of the original deal—Marvel sold the screen rights to the webslinger to Sony. Now, in fairness to Sony, nobody did care about Iron Man or any of those other characters back in the late 90s. However, I can only imagine how much these baboons must be kicking themselves over this whole ordeal.
On the positive side of things, Sony's constant mishandling of Spidey is likely an indication of how they would have treated these characters had they acquired their rights. Iron Man probably would have starred Antonio Sabato, Jr. and been directed by Renny Harlin and we would never have the cinematic universe we know and love today. So good on Marvel for making Sony pay for their complete and total stupidity.