Photo: IMDB

Sony took a risk with Venom, starring Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock. Critics didn’t know how the character would hold up on his own, without help from Spider-Man, but despite poor reviews, the film made the studio more than $500 million at the global box office, which may lead Sony to keep the rights to Spider-Man rather than returning them to Marvel.

“If it had failed, there is a chance Sony would have definitely returned to the bargaining table with Disney. Now, that’s up in the air,” Jeff Bock, a senior box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations, told Business Insider.

In 2015, Sony made a deal with Marvel Studios stating that the Marvel Cinematic Universe could introduce Spider-Man into its own films, while Sony maintained distribution rights and creative control, and can make movies based on the 900 Marvel Spider-Man characters to which it owns the film rights.

Sony is now likely to make a Venom sequel following the film’s success. There are also plans to tap into that 900 character database to develop more spin-off movies based on other Marvel comics characters from the Spider-Man world. Jared Leto will star in Morbius the Living Vampire, and a solo flick featuring Spider-Man love interest Black Cat is also in the works.