Disney Controls Merchandise For Sony-made 'Spider-man'

   July 4, 2017-Sony Pictures sold back movie merchandise rights to Spider-Man-property owner Walt Disney, which now makes for strange bedfellows, say the Wall Street Journal. Disney bought Marvel Comics for $4 billion in 2009.
   Says the article: “Sony will keep all of the profits [that Spider-Man Homecoming] generates following its release on July 7. Disney controls all merchandise rights to the character and is betting
The teaser from March introduces a reboot of the movie franchise

that a hit movie will result in millions more Spider-Man toys and bed sheets flying off shelves.” The article, by WSJ’s Ben Fritz, is headlined that Homecoming is “a $175 million commercial for Disney toys.” The film cost $175 million to make.
  Such an arrangement is unusual because film distributors tend to control merchandise rights—toys, posters, keychains and other merchandise—based on films they make, even if movies flow back to pre-existing intellectual properties. Sony Pictures held movie merchandising rights for the initial Spider-Man movies dating to 2002, but in 2011 sold back to Disney to raise money as parent Sony Corp. encountered financial woes.
   “Now that it kept all the profit from Spider-Man merchandise, Disney cared more deeply that business, which declined as the movies lost momentum,” writes the WSJ. “U.S. toy sales of Spider-Man fell to $200 million around the release of The Amazing Spider-Man 2 in 2014, from $385 million in the year around the release of 2004’s Spider-Man 2, according to NPD Group.”
   Providing context, the third edition of book Marketing To Moviegoers says, “In 2003, Marvel filed three related lawsuits against Sony’s Columbia Pictures over royalties for the Spider-Man  films. A June 2004 settlement made Marvel the lead party in licensing deals via a joint venture with the studio called Spider-Man Merchandising LP. The settlement means all merchandise-royalty revenue flows through Marvel, which increased its reported sales while it was a publicly traded company before the Disney acquisition, even though a big chunk of that money automatically is paid to Sony."
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