Oops! Sony in 1998: ‘Nobody Gives a Sh*t’ About Marvel Characters Except for Spider-Man

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In 1998, Marvel was a comic book company trying to recover from a recent bankruptcy. So when Sony Pictures came looking to acquire the movie rights to Spider-Man, Marvel tried to cut a deal, according to the Wall Street Journal. Sony could have the right to almost every Marvel character for $25 million. When the offer reached a Sony higher up, the prospect of making a movie about Iron Man, Ant-Man, Black Panther or Thor clearly wasn't very enticing...

Sony ended up dropping $10 million on Spidey, but for $15 million more they could have had the rights to the rest of the Avengers and a whole bunch more. Eventually, Marvel started producing its own super hero movies. To date, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has grossed over $20 billion worldwide. 

In this executive's defense, most of Marvel's character catalog was pretty second tier as far as many comic book fans were concerned. It might sound crazy these days, but in the 1990s Iron Man and Captain America were not nearly as popular as they are now and so, were of little to no interest to Sony. 20th Century Fox had already purchased the rights to Marvel's other premiere property, the X-Men, so Sony decided to assert control over Spider-Man. 

It's interesting to wonder whether or not the Marvel Cinematic Universe would have been as successful under Sony's control, or if it would have even been created at all. We may never know...

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