Yesterday, Disney and Sony Pictures Entertainment announced a major new partnership that is really good news for Marvel fans.
The deal is, in technical speak, a “multi-year content licensing agreement for U.S. streaming and TV rights to Sony Pictures’ new theatrical releases.” Basically, this means that — from at least 2022-2026 — Disney will have exclusive rights to stream all of Sony Pictures’ new movie releases on its Disney+ and Hulu platforms and to air those movies on its TV channels (Disney Channel, ABC, Freeform, FX, and National Geographic).
However, Disney doesn’t get those exclusive rights until after what’s called the “Pay 1 TV Window.” The Pay 1 TV Window is a period of time following the movie’s theatrical and/or video-on-demand (VOD) release. Earlier this month, Sony Pictures inked a deal with Netflix for exclusive streaming rights during that initial window. (Currently, Sony Pictures titles go to Starz during this period.)
What all of this means is that — starting next year — new Sony Pictures movies will debut in theaters, get a home entertainment release (VOD and Blu-ray), go to Netflix for a while, then head to Disney’s streaming platforms.
And bear with us, because that’s not all! Sony Pictures Entertainment (SPE) obviously has an extensive catalog of previously released movies, and the new Netflix and Disney deals both involve the rights to stream those titles, too.
The deal with Netflix includes “rights to select titles from SPE’s vast movie library.” The official press release announcing that deal didn’t provide additional details on which SPE movies are headed to Netflix. However, Disney’s deal also included rights to some very specific selections from Sony’s library. According to Disney, the House of Mouse is getting the rights to stream movies from the Jumanji and Hotel Transylvania franchises and (drumroll please) all of Sony Pictures’ Marvel Character films, including movies featuring Spider-Man.
SO, that means all of Sony’s Spider-Man iterations (the Tobey Maguire trilogy, The Amazing Spider-Man 1 & 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Far From Home, and Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse), will soon be available to stream on Disney+ and/or Hulu! The exact timeline for this isn’t public yet, but Disney says that some of the Sony Pictures titles will be available on Hulu as soon as this June.
This means that, for the first time, the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe (well, except for The Incredible Hulk) will likely be available to watch with a single subscription service or bundle. Between Disney’s 2019 acquisition of Fox — which gave the company ownership of the X-Men and Fantastic Four movies — and this new streaming deal with Sony, Disney’s streaming services will soon offer nearly every Marvel Comics-inspired movie ever made. If Marvel Movies were Infinity Stones, Disney would have a pretty decked-out gauntlet!