There's a good chance that Marvel Studios will delay Black Widow again due to the current status of the box office. Heading into 2020, the Marvel Cinematic Universe was set to begin a new era. The Infinity Saga concluded with Avengers: Endgame becoming the highest-grossing movie of all-time and Spider-Man: Far From Home became the biggest solo Spidey film ever. Despite Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow dying during the events of the former, she is still slated to finally get a solo film of her own.
Marvel Studios' plan has long been to use Black Widow to kick off Phase 4 of the MCU, but that has become more challenging than they ever could've predicted. The coronavirus pandemic shut down theaters across the world in March and eventually led to Black Widow losing its May 2020 release date. Marvel was forced to push the film to November 2020, a move that resulted in almost the entirety of Phase 4 shifting in some way. The six-month delay allowed for hope that Black Widow will be able to be released in theaters at this point as the first MCU Phase 4 movie. But, even that has recently started to look less likely.
Even though the majority of theaters are open, social distancing measures and the current state of the coronavirus pandemic have led to a tepid response. The fallout of recent events has only just begun. Many are now turning their eyes back to Black Widow to see what Disney and Marvel will do with the Phase 4 blockbuster. So far, they've stuck to a November 2020 release date for Black Widow in theaters, but all signs point to Johansson's solo movie having to wait even longer to debut.
Tenet Was A Test For Blockbuster Releases - And It Failed
After months of being shut down, theaters finally opened back up a few weeks ago to prepare for the release of Tenet. Christopher Nolan's time-manipulative movie was one of 2020's most anticipated blockbusters at the start of the year, and he pushed for the film to help bring theaters back. Nolan's interest in preserving the theater experience is commendable and Warner Bros. obliged his requests as best they could. While it was pushed back a few weeks, Tenet was the first big movie to hit theaters during the pandemic and it hasn't done well.
The circumstances of Tenet's release are unprecedented, so the movie's box office performance wasn't going to be what anyone involved had hoped. But, it is still fair to say that what business Tenet has done is underwhelming. The movie had a decent opening internationally but the domestic box office has been a different story. Depending on which box office numbers one believes, the movie opened as high as $20 million or as low as $10M. The second weekend wasn't much better, as it made less than $7M. In total, Tenet has made over $200M worldwide but less than $30M domestically.
With the response to Tenet, it is abundantly clear that most people aren't ready to go back to theaters just yet. Big markets like New York and California are still closed too, so the huge opening weekends that blockbusters count on just aren't possible, especially with theaters limiting capacity each showing. So, if Tenet's performance is representative of the type of performance fellow blockbusters will have, this would put Black Widow in a position to fail as well.