Another Black Widow release date delay is reportedly likely to happen. The film, which kicks off the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 4, was originally supposed to premiere back in May. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, Disney delayed Black Widow's release to November 2020. At the time, the hope was that would be enough time for the health crisis to improve and it would be safe for audiences to go to the movie theater. Unfortunately, the pandemic remains a very serious issue, particularly in the U.S., where there are tens of thousands of new cases daily.
Despite the circumstances, movie theaters have reopened in an attempt to boost business, but they're still struggling. Tenet's domestic run has been underwhelming, with the sci-fi thriller bringing in $29.5 million total. As a domino effect, studios are moving their expensive blockbusters again. Wonder Woman 1984 was recently delayed to Christmas, and there's been talk of Black Widow moving back. Nothing's official yet, but reports surrounding Black Widow aren't dying down.
Per Variety, it is "likely" Black Widow is delayed from its November 2020 slot. This comes on the heels of last week's reports there were "whispers" a delay was going to happen. It's currently unknown where Black Widow would move to if it is pushed back.
Though Tenet scored the highest opening weekend since theaters reopened, the hard numbers are hardly ideal for a $200 million studio tentpole. Tenet needs to gross $500 million just to break even, a figure it is unlikely to reach. Theaters are still closed indefinitely in key markets like New York and Los Angeles. Venues that are open have strict health and safety protocols in place that limit attendance, which severely impacts a movie's gross. Those factors make it unfeasible to release a major blockbuster in theaters right now. Black Widow represents a sizable investment on Disney's part, and they want to put it in position where it can be financially successful. As illustrated by Tenet, not nearly enough people are going back to the theater right now.
If Black Widow does move (and it's clearly looking that way), it'll be a big blow for movie theaters that were trying to salvage what's been a very difficult year. With rumblings Pixar's Soul could move to Disney+ instead of playing in theaters, this would leave exhibitors without any major new releases until No Time to Die in late November, assuming the James Bond film stays put in that window. Another Black Widow delay would also likely have a ripple effect on the rest of the MCU's slate, leading to all of the studio's other movies being pushed back further. For now anyway, it looks like Disney isn't going to repeat the Mulan strategy with Black Widow.