A new report says that Black Widow will only get a Disney+ release if all other options have failed, with Marvel determined to secure a theater debut.
A new report says that Black Widow will only get a Disney+ release if all other options have failed, with Marvel determined to secure a theater debut. The long-awaited Marvel Cinematic Universe movie was initially supposed to release in theaters in May 2020. It was then delayed to November 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic and pushed out once again, this time to May 2021, due to the pandemic still keeping most theaters closed in the US and worldwide. And a new report suggests Black Widow could be delayed again.
That isn't surprising, given the pandemic is still affecting most of the world, and vaccine distribution will take the bulk of 2020 to slow it down properly. The signs are that theaters may not be able to open again until the summer, perhaps even later than that. Meaning the current May date would see Black Widow opening in a tiny amount of theaters, leaving it, like Warner Bros.' Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 before it, unable to make back even its budget. As a result, many fans have been pushing for a Disney+ release for the movie, similar to how Mulan was released on the streaming service, for a premium fee, in November last year.
A new report from Variety suggests that it is unlikely to happen, though, as Marvel focuses on securing a theatrical release for Black Widow. In addition to making it clear that Black Widow will be delayed if the pandemic situation isn't better by the spring, the report mentions any Disney+ release would only be considered as a "last-ditch effort." It's clear the studio is determined to ensure one of its biggest movies of the past two years gets a chance to be seen in cinemas first.
The choice is understandable for Disney, who have but a lot of money into Black Widow. The movie's budget is blockbuster-sized, meaning it would have cost close to $200 million to make, and the marketing budget was probably also in the high seven figures. As a result, there's no way Disney will make a profit on Black Widow without releasing the movie into a normal theater environment.
A premium access fee for a Disney+ could help make some money, but there's no proof that it would bring in the hundreds of millions of dollars a movie like Black Widow would be expected to make at the box office. It's clear Disney is not intent on following the Warner Bros. release model (with that studio having seemingly accepted they won't make a profit on any of their 2021 movies), preferring instead to use them to gain HBO Max subscribers. That means fans are going to have to dig even deeper into their well of patience when it comes to Black Widow, as they'll be unlikely to see it until the pandemic has managed to be controlled in the USA.