Disney, Sony strike deal to keep Spider-Man in Marvel universe

MJ (Zendaya) catches a ride from Spider-Man (Tom Holland) in Spider-Man: Far From Home.

Marvel Studios will continue to produce the Spider-Man Homecoming series, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Walt Disney Studios said on Friday (Sept 27), heading off fans' fears that the popular superhero would disappear from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

The third film in Spider-Man's current incarnation, starring Tom Holland, will be released on July 16, 2021, the studios said.

The most recent film in the series, Spider-Man: Far From Home, was released in June in the United States and was Sony Pictures' highest-grossing film, fetching US$1.11 billion (S$1.5 billion) worldwide through Aug 18.

Last month, multiple reports and producers including Marvel movie supremo Kevin Feige said the two companies could not come to an understanding over sharing the character in the movies, after their previous deal expired.

Reports also indicated that Disney wanted a larger financial stake in the Sony-produced standalone Spider-Man movies.

The news about the breakup had disappointed fans, who took to Twitter to start a campaign with hashtags "#SaveSpiderMan"and "#SaveSpidey".

"I am thrilled that Spidey's journey in the MCU will continue", Feige said on Friday.

Spider-Man will also appear in a future Marvel Studios film, the studios said.