Sony Could Have Bought Movie Rights to Every Major Marvel Character for Peanuts

It has come to light that Sony was once offered the opportunity to house pretty much every major Marvel character under its own singular roof–all for an unbelievably cheap price. The company, though, declined.

According to a new report from The Wall Street Journal earlier today, the regretful decision on part of Sony took place two decades back. Marvel had just survived bankruptcy and was in dire search for ways to fill its empty coffers. When Sony made contact in 1998 to purchase the complete movie rights to the Spider-Man franchise, Marvel made a counter offer of selling much more.

Ike Perlmutter, head of Marvel at the time, placed the complete movie rights of many profound franchises (including Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Black Panther, Ant-Man, Avengers) on the table for the measly price of $25 million.

Yair Landau, executive of Sony at the time, took the new offer back but was quickly shut down by his top brass. “Nobody gives a shit about any of the other Marvel characters,” the report recalls Sony saying. “Go back and do a deal for only Spider-Man.”

Hence, Marvel ended up selling just Spider-Man for $10 million. The deal also covered 5 percent of gross revenue from any movie released and 50 percent of gross revenue from consumer products.

The same franchises that Sony discarded back then are now worth billions for Marvel. There was no way for Sony to know that these “shit” characters would be laying golden eggs in the next two decades but imagine if the deal had gone through. It would have been Marvel, not Sony, to be feeling a sting every now and then.

Black Panther is the next release in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and premiered in the United Kingdom on Tuesday to post the biggest opening day in the box office this year by earning more than £2.67 million. It will officially open in theaters in the United States on February 16, and is projected to score more than $180 million (an increment from the previously projected $160 million) in the domestic box office.