- The Spider Within, a 7-minute Spider-Man short film with a hint of horror, has not been widely released due to complicated film rights issues.
- Sony’s LENS program aims to provide leadership experience to underrepresented groups, and they produced The Spider Within as part of this initiative.
- Despite being highly anticipated, The Spider Within was not included in the recent digital and physical releases of Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse.
The Spider-Man universe is expanding, with two Spider-Verse films already released and another on the way. Sony made a short film that sadly has been unavailable to fans in previous releases.
The Spider Within: A Spider-Verse Story is a 7-minute short Spider-Man film with a hint of horror, produced by Sony through their Sony Pictures Imageworks’ LENS (Leading and Empowering New Storytellers) program. The program aims to “provide high-potential candidates from underrepresented groups an opportunity to gain valuable leadership experience.” The Spider-Man film premiered at the Annecy Film Festival in June this year and will be playing at the Animation Is Film Festival on October 21st, but it has yet to get a wide release to fans.
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An animator on the project shared why the Spider-Man film was not given a wide release. Vong Yonghow, who worked on both Spider-Verse films and The Spider Within,quote tweeted a post by Culture Crave about the Spider-Man short film’s synopsis. Yonghow said, “I worked on this #SpiderVerse short con-currently while working on the film. Pity it wasn’t included on the Blu-ray release as an extra ( rights are tricky, I know ). Hopefully, it gets a wider release so more can see it though.” This confirms the short film has not been given a wide release due to the complicated web of Spider-Man screen rights.
Marvel sold the film rights for Spider-Man to Sony in 1999, but the TV rights would eventually go to Disney. Amazon has some rights to the character, as they are producing multiple Spider-Man spinoff series on Prime, including a Silk series and a Spider-Man Noir series. These rights and contracts are confusing, and little information about them is given to the public. It is possible that Sony does not have the rights to distribute a 7-minute short film.
Spider-Man: Across the Spider-Verse has been released digitally and physically, with some small and big changes from the theatrical release. However, fans who knew about the short film and hoped to see it were disappointed that it was not included in either release.
The specific rights issues keeping the short film from getting a wide release are unknown to fans, but it does not seem likely that it will be accessible to fans unless Sony can reach a deal with whoever has the rights to distribute it. Now that Spider-Man: Beyond the Spider-Verse is expected to be further delayed no matter how the actors’ strike concludes, fans hope to get any Spider-Man content soon.
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Source: Vong Yongchow