The biggest question mark for the MCU for the past year has been the release date of Black Widow. After more than a year of delays, fans are imploring Disney to just release the film on Disney+ and get it over with. But the Mouse Empire has held firm. So far. During Disney’s Investor’s Call, CEO Bob Chapek maintained that the plan is still on for a theatrical release for Black Widow, but also hinted that plan might change if audiences show reluctance in returning to theaters.
“So I’m going to go back to the word flexibility because we had made a reference at the investor conference that Black Widow was going to be a theatrical release and we are still intending it to be a theatrical release. But, again, we are going to be watching very carefully the reopening of theatres and the consumer sentiment in terms of desire to go back to theatres, to see whether that strategy needs to be revisited. But as of now, the strategy is to continue on with the theatrical release and we’ll be watching very, very carefully.”
While most fans are willing to watch Black Widow on Disney+ now instead of waiting many more months to watch it in theaters, Disney has to weigh the pros and cons of sending their most hotly-anticipated, possibly billion-dollar-grossing project directly to streaming.
Last year, presumably to test the waters, Disney released another big-budget movie Mulan on Disney+. While the film’s performance stats have not been made public, the company did not seem to have gotten the desired results, which is why they are determined to hold on to Black Widow as long as possible. In fact, when Chapek mentioned the strong performance of the content on Disney+, Mulan did not find any mention.
“In just the last two months, Disney+ has delivered a string of hit programs, including Marvel’s incredibly original WandaVision, season two of The Mandalorian which ended with the surprise reveal thatfan-favoritee Boba Fett will have his own Disney+ series starting this December; and Pixar’s artistic triumph Soul, which debuted on the service and in theatres on Christmas Day to great acclaim and has since taken in nearly $100 million at the global box office.”
While Disney is still planning a theatrical release for Black Widow, their rivals at WarnerMedia decided to release Wonder Woman 1984 on HBO Max, settling for a sizable increase in subscribers even at the cost of hundreds of millions at the box office. It remains to be seen how long Disney is willing to hold out in its staring contest with the situation regarding the shutdown of theaters the world over.
Directed by Cate Shortland, Black Widow features a lead cast consisting of Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff/Black Widow, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, O-T Fagbenle as Mason, and Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff. The film arrives in theaters on May 7. seekingalpha.com.
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