Having resisted for the best part of a year, Disney finally caved and decided to go down the simultaneous theatrical and streaming release route for Marvel Studios’ long-awaited solo feature Black Widow, with the Scarlett Johansson-led superhero blockbuster set to launch on Disney+ via Premier Access date and date with its cinema release this July.
Speaking at the Global Technology, Media and Communications Conference (via Dark Horizons), Disney CEO Bob Chapek has discussed the reasoning for the decision, stating that while box office numbers are rising following the end of lockdown, “we’re seeing some hesitancy to return” among moviegoers.
“One of the things we learned is that flexibility is good,” said Chapek. “We’re really celebrating that flexibility… we’re trying to offer consumers more choice. We’ve already delayed Black Widow a couple of times, we didn’t want to delay it again. Yet, at the same time, we always knew there was a risk that exhibition wasn’t going to be fully developed or consumers wouldn’t want to go back and sit in theaters.”
“So, we realized we had to sort of prime the pump and give theatrical exhibition a chance,” Chapek continued. “We couldn’t put all of our eggs in the theatrical exhibition basket because we knew that in the weeks leading up to the decision that the domestic market was not coming back. And it’s still fairly weak. So, we’re very confident that we made the right call there.”
While Marvel fans will be able to access Black Widow at home from Day One, Disney has already ruled out a Premiere Access release for the MCU’s next big screen offering Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. Whether that plan might change should Black Widow prove a roaring success for Disney+, we shall see…
In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller “Black Widow,” Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
Black Widow is being directed by Cate Shortland (Lore) and sees Scarlett Johansson reprising her role as Natasha Romanoff alongside Florence Pugh (Fighting With My Family) as Yelena Belova, O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale) as Mason, David Harbour (Stranger Things) as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, Rachel Weisz (The Favourite) as Melina Vostokoff/Iron Maiden, Ray Winstone (Sexy Beast) as Dreykov and Olivier Richters (The King’s Man) in an as-yet-unrevealed role.
Black Widow is set for release on July 9th in cinemas and on Disney+ with Premier Access.