The flagship streaming service and Hulu are among many platforms covered by the agreement, which the official announcement called “unprecedented.” A host of platforms under the Disney tent are involved, including ABC, FX, Freeform. No specific plans for Disney+ have yet been finalized, but Marvel fans had been wondering when Spidey and others would appear alongside the rest of the streaming stable. For complicated legal reasons, the franchise has not been a full-fledged member of the Disney-controlled Marvel Cinematic Universe.
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Theatrical releases from 2022 to 2026 will move to Disney after their runs on Netflix, which earlier this month announced a deal with Sony for a pay-1 exclusive as well as co-production rights to direct-to-streaming films.
Financial terms were not disclosed in the release and the companies to declined to comment on any dollar figures. A person familiar with the pact estimated the total combined value of the Netflix and Disney deals at more than $3 billion.
Library rights to franchises like Spider-Man, Jumanji, Hotel Transylvania and others are part of the package.
The official announcement said the deal “gives Disney enormous programming potential across its platforms and makes them key destinations for a robust collection of Spider-Man films.” Hulu will also get a “significant number” of library titles beginning as early as June.
Linear networks joining the new deal include ABC, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX and National Geographic. FX and Sony had been in business for years and the overall Disney agreement succeeds a prior “post-pay-1” deal with FX. Universal, another key supplier to FX, recently ended its long-term relationship with FX, so the ongoing supply of Sony titles is a boost for the widely distributed pay-TV network.
“This landmark multi-year, platform agnostic agreement guarantees the team at Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution a tremendous amount of flexibility and breadth of programming possibilities to leverage Sony’s rich slate of award-winning action and family films across our direct-to-consumer services and linear channels,” said Chuck Saftler, head of Business Operations for ABC, Freeform, FX Networks, and Acquisitions in DMED’s Networks division. Saftler, a key architect of FX’s movie slate deals, played a key role in the negotiations. “This is a win for fans, who will benefit from the ability to access the very best content from two of Hollywood’s most prolific studios across a multitude of viewing platforms and experiences.”
Keith Le Goy, president of worldwide distribution and networks for Sony Pictures Entertainment, called it a “groundbreaking agreement.” It “cements a key piece of our film distribution strategy,” he added, “which is to maximize the value of each of our films, by making them available to consumers across all windows with a wide range of key partners.”
In a memo to employees, SPE motion picture group chairman Tom Rothman said the Netflix and Sony deals are “reflective of the exceptional and unique value belonging to the culturally impactful films we make and market. There is nothing like Sony Pictures’ outstanding slate freely available in the modern marketplace, and the demand for it is accordingly robust.”