Disney and Sony have inked a new deal that will give streaming and TV rights for Sony Pictures’ new releases–including movies like Spider-Man: No Way Home–to Disney’s many streaming and linear services. It’s complicated, so buckle in.
The streaming deal includes Sony’s new theatrical releases between 2022 and 2026 as well as titles from Sony’s existing library, with releases heading to Disney+, Hulu, ABC, Disney Channels, Freeform, FX, and National Geographic as appropriate. In the press release, Sony specifically calls out its Sony Pictures Universe of Marvel Characters films, which would include any Spider-Man films, as well as spin-off characters like Venom, Morbius, and Kraven–not to mention Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and its upcoming sequel.
Here’s where things get complicated, though. Earlier this month, Sony made a very similar-sounding deal with Netflix, which specifically included Spider-Man. So what’s up? These features would go to Netflix first during what the industry calls the “Pay 1” window. Historically, that would’ve been the period after theaters but before home video; that time period where you could catch the movie on HBO or order it on Pay-Per-View from your cable provider. It typically lasts about 18 months, according to The Hollywood Reporter.
Disney’s deal kicks in after that window. Once a movie is out of that “Pay 1” window, then you might see Hotel Transylvania and Jumanji pop up on Disney+, and the Monster Hunter and Uncharted movies on Hulu.
According to Variety, the Netflix and Disney deals stand to dump a truckload of cash on Sony weighing around $3 billion over the life of the two deals. Neither Sony or Disney has officially disclosed the financial terms of the agreement, however.
“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,” said Chuck Saftler, head of business operations for ABC, Freeform, FX Networks and Acquisitions for Disney’s Media and Entertainment Distribution, in a press release. “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.”
“This groundbreaking agreement reconfirms the unique and enduring value of our movies to film lovers and the platforms and networks that serve them,” said Keith Le Goy, president, Worldwide Distribution and Networks, Sony Pictures Entertainment. “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.”
For us streaming fans at home, this means that we can expect to find nearly all of the Marvel movies in one place following that Netflix window, whether they were formerly part of Fox’s X-Men series, the current Sony Spider-Man universe, or the Marvel Studios collection of films.