Could the ‘Spider-Man’/’X-Men’ Crossover Lead to a United Cinematic Universe?

*Please note that this article is an opinion-editorial.


It was announced yesterday that Sony’s upcoming release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 is going to contain a Marvel Studios-like post-credits scene.  I know what you’re thinking, so did the first film in this new, rights-retaining, rebooted series.  But, that scene was a tease of sorts for where the first film’s sequel would go, something to do with Norman Osborne on his death bed.  The reason TASM 2’s post-credits scene is getting attention is because it will tease the newX-Men movie, Days of Future Past.  I think it’s a bit weird that we’d get a teaser scene for a film that’s coming out only a mere 3 weeks after Spider-Man, but it is significant because these are two separate films being produced by two separate studios.  Of course, Marvel has been doing this for years with its nine self-produced films at this point. (The most recent gave us a glimpse of Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver in next year’s Avengers: Age of Ultron.)  But, the Marvel movies are just teasing each other; they’ve never tried to plug one of the movies another studio is producing from a rights deal that predates Marvel’s decision to make their own films.  This is a precedent-setting, inter-studio deal, and it gave me a really great idea.

Marvel needs to explore a similar deal with Sony and Fox.

First, a little background: the modern comic book movie explosion started off with a Marvel character when the comic book publisher sold the film rights of the vampire hunter, Blade, to New Line Cinema.  That led to X-Men being bought up by Fox and Spider-Man by Sony.  Spider-Man was especially significant, because that first Sam Raimi film made some serious bank. (It buried Star Wars: Episode II at the box office that summer.)   This led to two problems for Marvel:  1. The studios were making far more money off these characters than the company who created them was and 2. Marvel had, ultimately, no creative control over the movies that were being made.  The Marvel films produced by other studios have been a mixed bag, ranging in quality from very good to nearly unwatchable.  By my count, selling their characters’ movie rights led to two awful Fantastic Four movies, two awful Punisher movies, one bad Blade movie (from the guy who is primarily steering DC’s movie ship for Warner Brothers), one bad X-Men movie, one terrible Wolverine movie, one bad Daredevil movie, one even worse Electra movie, one horrible emo Spider-Man movie, and one wildly misguided Hulk film that was directed by one of the great and most versatile living filmmakers, who was just wrong for the material.  In the future, both Sony and Fox are talking about multiple spinoff films involving X-Men and Spider-Man characters, Sony has gone so far as to tap a director for a Sinister Six film.  Ironically, he’s the guy Marvel has picked to create a Daredevil TV series for Netflix.

It’s also led to some weird character rights issues as Quicksilver is going to be seen in both Days of Future Past and Age of Ultron, but (Hold on, this gets really confusing.) since Fox owns the rights to all things X-Men, his lineage as a mutant and the son of Magneto can’t be mentioned in Age of Ultron.  He’s allowed to be in Age of Ultron, because of his longtime association with the Avengers, but in that film they can’t refer to him as a mutant.  Also, I’m pretty sure Marvel would prefer that Quicksilver and Mystique hadn’t appeared in those horrible commercials for Carl’s Jr. 

So, here’s my idea.  Since Fox and Sony seem to be keen on some sort of crossover (and I read rumors online that Marvel and Sony discussed the possibility of the Oscorp building being in the New York skyline in The Avengers), I think Marvel should extend both studios a deal.  Marvel should agree to start co-financing the films Sony and Marvel are making, and thus split profits thusly. If Marvel puts up 30% of the money for Amazing Spider-Man 3, then Sony would keep 70% of the profit, or however you want to divide up production costs.  This would allow the studios to be less exposed financially, as these comic book movies tend to be pretty expensive to make.  In exchange for helping co-finance the films, Marvel would then have total creative control over the movie.  They would get to make all of the creative decisions regarding directors, writers, and actors.  Their track record for succeeding at this is pretty much the industry standard right now.  I mean, Kevin Feige hired the directors of You, Me and Dupree to direct Captain America 2, and they were an amazing outside-the-box choice.  (As a side note, after watching Cap 2, does anybody doubt that Feige is going one day make a kickass Punisher movie?)  Since Fox's and Sony’s track records with these films have been spotty at best (For me, only X-Men 2 and Spider-Man 2 are really great films.), this would give all of the creative control back to Marvel.  Even better, it allows the characters owned by Fox and Sony to now all be folded into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.   That means there wouldn’t be two versions of poor Quicksilver with two different back stories.  And, wouldn’t it be cool for Spider-Man to show up in an Avengers movie?   This would also allow Marvel to have creative control over the Fantastic Four, who have kind of been abused as movie characters so far, though I think Michael B. Jordan is going to make a great Human Torch.

I know that this idea might be a longshot.  I don’t know that the studio chiefs are going suddenly be keen on giving away creative control.  Once people gain power, they are reluctant to give it up.  But, we know that with great power comes great responsibility.  Maybe the idea of a studio head being able to relax and do nothing while still making hundreds of millions of dollars to the bottom line makes some degree of success.

It would allow Marvel to protect its characters and give the fans something really incredible.

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