Fans are fighting back following news that Spider-Man may be kicked out of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) after a dispute between the two studios involved in the hit franchise.
Almost 100,000 angry fans have signed a petition demanding that Sony negotiates with Disney, which owns Marvel Studios, so that Spider-Man can remain within the MCU.
Sony has owned the film rights to Spider-Man since 1998 but the character, with actor Tom Holland starring as the web-slinger, only joined the MCU in 2016’s Captain America: Civil War after the two studios struck a deal in 2015.
Disney had asked for a 50/50 co-financing deal for future movies, which was rejected by Sony. Now the superhero’s future is in limbo as Disney has decided not to let Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige act as lead producer in the upcoming live-action films.
The change.org petition, started by Nate Philips, stated: "After the news today that Sony walked away from their deal with Disney, I cannot in good faith stand by while Spider-man and his fans around the world become collateral damage. Spider-man in the MCU has brought some of the best moments in modern cinema history. SONY you must let go of this property or renegotiate with Disney to keep all of the fans happy."
The petition continued: "Please join me in standing against Sony who I'll be boycotting until this matter is properly resolved. Share this petition and let's make our voices heard!"
Among the reasons cited by fans for signing the petition is the belief that Sony will not be able to do a good job with the movies without Marvel Studios. Joshua Levin said: “Sony will screw this up completely. Take the 50/50 split!” while Michael Deimel said, “Sony has proven their movies are not the caliber of the films made by Disney.”
Another event is also being planned by fans to show Sony their displeasure at the news. Thousands of people have pledged to storm the Sony Pictures offices in New York and California in October. More than 8,000 fans had said they were going while another 7,000 expressed interest.
According to the event description on Facebook: "We storm Sony Pictures in solidarity dressed in Spider-Man costumes and bring our boy home! This is a peaceful demonstration and violence will not be tolerated."
Sony has released a statement addressing the dispute on Twitter. They said they were disappointed by Disney’s decision not to keep Feige as a lead producer in the next film, but they respected it.
The post read: "We hope this might change in the future, but understand that the many new responsibilities that Disney has given him – including all their newly added Marvel properties – do not allow time for him to work on IP they do not own. Kevin is terrific and we are grateful for his help and guidance and appreciate the path he has helped put us on, which we will continue."