May 8, 2021

DCTRS

Damascus Center for Theoretical and Civil Rights Studies

Disney, Sony announce pact for Sony movies, including “Spider-Man”

Walt Disney Co. and Sony Pictures Entertainment have announced an expansive content licensing agreement that will bring hundreds of Sony movies, including “Jumanji” and “Spider-Man,” to multiple Disney platforms, including Disney+ and Hulu.

The deal, announced Wednesday, underscores the voracious appetite for content by streaming services.

Disney, which spent $71.3 billion to acquire the 20th Century Fox film and television studio two years ago for its stockpile of programming, has concluded that it will need even more movies and TV shows to be victorious in the streaming wars. The Sony deal also will help bolster Hulu’s slate of movies.

Under the deal, Disney will license Sony movies that are released theatrically beginning next year through 2026 — after those films finish their runs during their initial pay-TV window. In addition, Disney will get rights to Sony’s vast library of films. Disney will have the rights to play the Sony product on its various platforms, including traditional networks ABC, Freeform, National Geographic and the FX Networks, as well as its streaming services.

Earlier this month, Sony announced a separate movie deal with Netflix.

That arrangement also covers Sony’s 2022-26 slate of theatrical movies, including the upcoming releases “Morbius,” “Where the Crawdads Sing” and “Bullet Train,” followed by future installments of series including “Venom,” “Spider-Man,” “Jumanji” and “Bad Boys.” When the first pay-TV window concludes — typically after about 18 months — rights to those films will shift to Disney from Netflix.

This means Disney will gain rights to the newer releases in late 2023. But starting in June, Disney will pick up rights to some of the older library content, including “Jumanji” and “Hotel Transylvania” and Sony Pictures’ Marvel characters, including Spider-Man.

“This landmark multi-year, platform agnostic agreement guarantees the team at Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution a tremendous amount of flexibility and breadth of programming possibilities to leverage Sony’s rich slate of award-winning action and family films across our direct-to-consumer services and linear channels,” Chuck Saftler, head of business operations for ABC, Freeform, FX Networks and other Disney networks, said in a statement.

“This is a win for fans, who will benefit from the ability to access the very best content from two of Hollywood’s most prolific studios across a multitude of viewing platforms and experiences,” Saftler added.

Sony, which is one of the few Hollywood studios without its own streaming service, has been flexing its muscle as streaming companies frantically search for content from third parties to feed their services. The Sony-Netflix deal was estimated to be worth $1 billion over five years.

Financial terms of the Disney-Sony deal were not released.

Output deals have long generated hundreds of millions of dollars a year in revenue for film studios. Premium cable channels have relied on a steady stream of blockbuster Hollywood movies to keep subscribers engaged.

“This groundbreaking agreement reconfirms the unique and enduring value of our movies to film lovers and the platforms and networks that serve them,” Keith Le Goy, Sony’s president of worldwide distribution and networks, said in the statement.

“We are thrilled to team up with Disney on delivering our titles to their viewers and subscribers. This agreement cements a key piece of our film distribution strategy, which is to maximize the value of each of our films, by making them available to consumers across all windows with a wide range of key partners.”

Staff writer Ryan Faughnder contributed to this report.