If you’ve tried to track what movies and shows are on which of the ever-expanding number of streaming services, then congrats: You’ve accidentally learned a lot about corporate and copyright law. What superhero movie fan doesn’t know that Sony owns Spider-Man and that there’s a byzantine deal that allows him to hobnob with his fellow Avengers, the rest of whom are owned by Disney? Those people have no doubt noticed that the stand-alone Spider-Man films, from the new Tom Holland ones to the Tobey Maguires and Andrew Garfields, are AWOL from Disney+.
But that won’t be so for much longer: As per The Hollywood Reporter, Sony has inked a deal with Disney to move most of its movies, from upcoming 2022-2026 releases to a massive back catalog, to its two streamers. That is to say the more family-friendly ones, including their comic book fare, will go to Disney+, and the more adult ones, will head to Hulu. (Their content — which, of course, includes far more than comic book fare — will also head to Disney-owned TV networks, such as ABC, FX, and National Geographic.)
When will this happen? That’s not clear, but it will happen after Sony’s current deal with Netflix expires. When that happens, movies from such franchises as Hotel Transylvania and Jumanji will hang with Marvel and Star Wars fare (as well as old school Disney titles, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs to Million Dollar Duck). They’ll also eventually score such upcoming Sony titles as Morbius, Uncharted, Bullet Train, and the sequel to Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse.
The merger is a reminder that Sony, whose parent company also owns Columbia Pictures, is the only major media corporation that does not have its own streaming service. That’s in part because, unlike Disney, Warner Media, and others, they don’t have the same brand recognition — which is to say they don’t have as many towering franchises that would attract looking to Roku and chill. In other words, you won’t have to shell out for yet another streamer so you can watch the Spider-Man where Jamie Foxx is a blue meanie.