Sony Pictures passed on buying almost every Marvel character for $25 million

Occasionally, I'll come across something I want on sale, but for whatever reason, I'll talk myself out of it, thinking that it might go down further in price. Time passes and upon returning, I've typically found that the item has either gone up in price considerably or is now out of stock. Why the hell didn't I buy it the first time? Most of us can relate to that, but when it comes to passing on purchasing a future billion dollar franchise for the low price of $25 million, that's an entirely different level of "what have I done?"

Marvel wasn't always the juggernaut that it is today, and just twenty years ago, they were still recovering from bankruptcy and were looking for a way to secure some much needed cash. The Wall Street Journal (via Twitter) published an expert of Ben Fritz's upcoming book "The Big Picture: The Fight for the Future of Movies," in which he reveals that Marvel offered up the rights to nearly every one of their characters, including Iron Man, Thor, and Black Panther, to Sony Pictures for just $25 million, but the studio was only interested in the rights to Spider-Man at the time and, if you can believe it, turned the offer down.

In 1998, a young Sony Pictures executive named Yair Landau was tasked with securing the theatrical screen rights to Spider-Man. His company had DVD rights to the web slinger but needed the rest in order to make a movie.

Marvel Entertainment, then only a famed name in the comic-book world, had just begun trying to make film deals. The company was fresh out of bankruptcy and desperate for cash, so its new chief, Ike Perlmutter, responded with a more audacious offer. Sony, he countered, could have the movie rights to nearly every Marvel character—Iron Man, Thor, Ant-Man, Black Panther and more—for $25 million.

Mr. Landau took the offer back to his bosses at Sony, whose response was quick and decisive, he recalled in an interview: “Nobody gives a sh—about any of the other Marvel characters. Go back and do a deal for only Spider-Man.”

Sony soon turned SPIDER-MAN into their own billion-dollar franchise, but they recently collaborated with Marvel on SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING after their last Spidey film wasn't quite the success which they had hoped that it would be. It's not hard to imagine that Sony has likely been kicking themselves over the course of the past decade as the Marvel Cinematic Universe has produced one hit after another. What might the MCU have looked like in the hands of Sony? I'm sure they would have run it into the ground by now.

What's the best deal/offer you regret passing on?



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