It may come as no surprise but Sony just signed a deal with Disney that’ll allow its upcoming theatrical releases from 2022-2026 to appear on Disney streaming and cable services. That means, at some point, you might be able to watch the full complement of Marvel Cinematic Universe films on Disney+, as well as the other, older Spider-Man films that make up the burgeoning multiverse.
The deal is very complicated, especially since it comes hot on the heels of another deal Sony signed with Netflix, but here are the basics. Starting in 2022, Sony’s new theatrical movies will debut in theaters, then go to home video, and then appear on Netflix about nine months after theaters. That’s called the “Pay 1 window.” Disney’s deal is for after those films leave Netflix, or “post Pay 1.”
For context, it’s like how in the 1980s and 1990s, after a movie was in theaters, it would go to video, and then it would first appear on TV on a premium channel like HBO, commercial-free. A few months after that, you might see it on regular TV with commercials. In this Sony scenario, Netflix is the HBO, and Disney’s services (which include on streamers Disney+ and Hulu, as well as TV channels like ABC, Freeform, FX, and others) are the regular TV.
That’s just for the new, theatrical movies from 2022-2026 movies though. The potentially even more interesting part of the deal extends to Sony’s catalog titles. Disney will get rights to a “significant number” of those too and some of them will start showing up on Hulu specifically as early as June. That could include not just Spider-Man projects, but Jumanji, Hotel Transylvania, and numerous others.
Important to remember here: what is now Sony was formerly Columbia Pictures (among others) and has been making movies for over 100 years. Some of its most famous titles range from On the Waterfront, Close Encounters of the Third Kind, and Bridge on the River Kwai, to Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Men in Black, Bad Boys, and Charlie’s Angels, just to give some examples. Then there’s TV, which is a whole other list. Oh, and this deal is only for the U.S.
One piece of this puzzle that’s unfortunately missing for now is the breakdown of what catalog movies are included, where they might show up exactly (which of Disney’s many venues) and when. While that has yet to be been revealed and a source close to the deal told io9/Gizmodo most of it would be Hulu-centric. For Spider-Man thoughthough, you’d think films like Spider-Man Homecoming and Far From Home would fit perfectly in the Marvel section of Disney+, and with the new film, No Way Home, bringing in characters from other Spider-Man movies, those films would fit there too.
But No Way Home comes out this year and isn’t part of the deal. This all starts in 2022 and the only movies Sony has announced that far out are Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse 2, Uncharted, Escape Room 2, and Morbius. But if Disney is piggybacking off Netflix here, you can be sure there’s much more where that came from.
Update 4/21/2021, 6:30 p.m. ET: We added the info that the deal is in the U.S. only and most of the catalog titles would end up on Hulu.
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