Sony may very well have been hoping that Venom, which finally hit theaters last weekend, could eventually be folded, in some way or another, into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. There are a wide array of reasons for why that probably won't ever happen, but the movie itself actually makes it so it can't happen, thanks to one key scene. So unless they pull some sort of alternate universe nonsense, these Spider-Man spin-off movies are going to exist on their own terms.
Warning: spoilers ahead for Venom. At one point toward the end of the first act of the movie, Tom Hardy's Eddie Brock is asked to help Jenny Slate's Dr. Dora Skirth, who wants the reporter to look into her shady boss and head of the Life Foundation, Carlton Drake, played by Riz Ahmed. Drake has used space exploration to discover alien symbiotes, which bond to humans in order to create very powerful beings. Brock is downright stunned to learn about the existence of alien life at all, let alone it being on Earth presently. And therein lies the problem.
Those who are even passively familiar with the MCU know that aliens have played a big part in that universe since The Avengers hit theaters in 2012. The Chitauri invaded New York City with Loki and with that, the whole world became aware that aliens exist. In the years that have followed, the world was forced to further accept that these aliens are out there and that they, in many cases, pose a direct threat to our planet. Infinity War really hammered that point home.
The main point being, in the MCU, the existence of aliens to anyone who lives in that reality in the year 2018 shouldn't be in any way surprising, unless they've been living in a cave for a decade. Eddie Brock is a reporter who used to work in New York City. He would unquestionably know about the battle in New York and would certainly know that aliens exist.
That firmly puts Venom far outside the confines of the MCU and makes it so the movie couldn't possibly be retconned to fit into that continuity down the line, even if there were desire from both parties to do so. And that's a big if. Especially coming from the Marvel Studios camp. Sony's Amy Pascal initially indicated her desire to see Venom connect to the MCU, which Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige was quick to shoot down. But it's clear that Sony didn't want to close any of those doors. At least not intentionally.
Disney is very protective of the Marvel brand, as they should be, and that's the real sticking point here. Despite the fact that Venom has been a hit at the box office so far, having earned $234 million worldwide at the time of this writing, it hasn't been terribly well-received by critics. The movie holds just a 30 percent approval rating from critics on Rotten Tomatoes. Though, it's well worth pointing out that the audience rating stands at 89 percent. In any case, that's not the kind of thing that warrants inclusion in the MCU. At least for the foreseeable future, Venom won't be crossing paths with Spider-Man. Sorry, everyone. This was previously reported by Comicbook.com.