‘Black Widow’: Some Fans Would Pay to Watch on Disney+ Just to Avoid Spoilers

When the live-action remake of Disney’s Mulan was pushed back earlier this year due to coronavirus (COVID-19), fans immediately clamored to see if the original was available on the Disney+ streaming service. But movie theater reopenings are becoming more and more of a dream, with some even permanently going out of business. Disney has moved to offer full movie premieres on Disney+.

However, due to their massive investment in the service and facing a shortage of theater income, Disney has decided to try charging for the films. Fans will be asked to pay $30 for the live-action Mulan when it premieres on September 4th. However, some are happy to pay the cost and others hope the offer is on the table for other upcoming movies, like the highly anticipated Black Widow.

Scarlett Johansson looking off camera
Scarlett Johansson | Axelle Bauer-Griffin/Getty Images

How fans are reacting to buying movies on Disney+

A Reddit post recently discussed the potential option of viewing the upcoming MCU offering Black Widow on Disney+ for the same price. Some fans would prefer to wait for the Blu-Ray or DVD, but those who want to stay current with the MCU and avoid spoilers would absolutely take the plunge and pay $30. With the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Disney has managed to make movies appointment viewing again. Fans obsess over the dozens of films, where each one hides details for all the others. MCU fanatics know that if you don’t see a film immediately when it’s available, you run the risk of the dreaded spoiler.

Even if you’re doing everything you can to avoid finding out what happens before you watch the movie, there’s no way to prevent accidentally seeing a Facebook post that reveals information you were trying to avoid. In a world where nearly all media is available at the click of a mouse, it’s refreshing to have to wait for something and experience it at the same time as everybody else. The Golden Age of TV is a great example of this, and Disney is trying to do the same thing with their movies.

How Disney’s gamble might work out

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The worst case scenario for Disney is a limited theater release that leads to small numbers of fans getting to see the movie long before everybody else. Not only will this prevent them from making a ton of revenue, it can also cause fans who would normally see the movie to avoid discussing it if they can’t see it at the same time as anyone else. Given the die-hard status of many MCU fans, this could completely turn them off of the entire franchise.

With plenty of upcoming, long-anticipated films (such as Deadpool’s MCU debut and the aforementioned Black Widow), Disney needs to work out a strategy quickly to recoup some of their investment. Disney+ is only $6.99 a month, so asking for more than four times that to watch a single movie certainly seems like a tough ask. But it’s not more than a family would spend to see it in theaters, and it looks like fans of the movies are willing to pay.

The future of movie streaming?

Disney isn’t likely to see customers unsubscribe from Disney+ over this decision, and it provides a pretty clever way to make back some of the money they’re losing by not pushing Mulan to theaters. Very few media companies have the ability to circumvent theaters entirely in this way, but Disney has the bankroll to experiment. If everything goes well, they may end up pushing future movies (including those of the MCU) out to the public this way, which isn’t good news for theaters. But it’s potentially good news for Disney, and the Mouse has never been shy to roll over uncooperative competitors.