Black Widow is officially delayed to July and will be available on Disney+ via Premier Access.
Black Widow is officially delayed to July and will be available on Disney+ Premier Access the same day as theaters. The long-awaited Marvel movie, which was originally supposed to come out in May 2020 and kickoff Phase 4, has seen its release date move several times since the ongoing coronavirus pandemic began last spring. For a while now, Black Widow had been slated to debut in May 2021, but many expected it to be pushed back again. Even with COVID-19 vaccines being distributed and more movie theaters reopening, traditional moviegoing remains an uncertain prospect at this point in 2021.
The bigger question many had was if Disney would give Black Widow a streaming release around the same time as theaters. During the pandemic, the studio launched the Premier Access banner for Disney+, making Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon available to watch at home for an additional cost to subscribers. For the longest time, Disney and Marvel seemed reluctant to follow that path for Black Widow, instead holding out hope for an exclusive run in theaters. However, the studio's attitude has changed, and Black Widow will get a hybrid release this summer.
Today, as part of sweeping changes to their 2021 movie release schedule, Disney announced Black Widow has been delayed to July 9. In addition to playing in theaters, it will also be available on Disney+ Premier Access that same day. To commemorate the news, Marvel released a new Black Widow poster. Check out the one-sheet below:
With this, Black Widow's release should be set in stone and not encounter any further delays. Disney now has plenty of time to put together a new marketing campaign for the film. There hasn't been a new Black Widow trailer in over a year, so it'll be necessary to raise awareness again and build hype over the next few months. If Black Widow had stuck to its May date, the studio would have been crunched with regards to advertising. Pushing Black Widow to July allows Disney to buy more time for additional movie theaters to reopen and more people to get vaccinated, which ideally will boost its box office prospects. As a $200 million tentpole, Black Widow is obviously reliant on ticket sales in order to turn a profit. It's smart the film is also going to Disney+; theaters will likely still have capacity restrictions in July, so this provides Disney with another revenue source (one they don't have to share with multiplexes). Plus, those who still don't feel safe going to a theater can watch Black Widow from the comfort of home.
Disney's desire to give Black Widow a traditional theatrical release was understandable, but given the circumstances this is the best strategy. Besides marketplace concerns, it arguably isn't very feasible to keep delaying Black Widow further. Phase 4 is now in full swing with WandaVision and The Falcon and The Winter Soldier releasing on Disney+, so Marvel's officially moved into their next era. Black Widow is a prequel set between Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War, but Marvel still has a rollout plan they need to stick to and Black Widow was running the risk of becoming stale. At long last, viewers know when they'll finally be able to watch the movie.