They say that hindsight is a wonderful thing. But certain Sony bosses must still rue the day that they turned down one particular offer in the late 1990s. It would have made the company billions. The deal in question? None other than the entirety of comic book giant Marvel’s back catalog.
Yes, a full decade before Disney laid its hands on the likes of Iron Man, Captain America and The Incredible Hulk, Sony had the chance to get there first. But in an era when comic-book characters weren’t exactly the coolest thing around, the studio decided it wasn’t worth the risk. Instead, it focused solely on buying the rights to Spider-Man.
Sony’s hesitancy initially appeared to pay off. Its Spider-Man films grossed an impressive $5.2 billion at the box office. However, by 2018 Disney’s never-ending Marvel output had raked in an almighty $13.9 billion. Here’s a look at the deal that never was. And it was one that could have changed the course of Marvel history.