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Spider-Man returns to Marvel’s universe, in an incredibly rare industry collaboration

In 1999, before dazzling moviegoers with web-slinging heroics and before the now famous kiss, Spider-Man was forced to pack his bags and fly the coup. The superhero left his Marvel Studios home, and no one could have guessed he’d ever return.

Marvel, at the time a sinking ship, sold its most-beloved character and most-bankable asset to Sony Pictures SNE, +1.34% for $7 million. It wouldn’t be long thereafter that Sony and Spider-Man would make movie history.

“Spider-Man,” starring Tobey McGuire, Kirsten Dunst, Willem Dafoe and James Franco, grossed $114.8 million in its opening weekend in 2002, a feat no other film in any genre had yet accomplished.

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