‘Black Widow’ Sticking to its Release Date? 1 Big New Reason to be Optimistic

Black Widow was supposed to lead off Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe back in May 2020. Jump forward nearly a year, on the day of the WandaVision finale, and the Scarlett Johansson solo film still hasn’t seen the light of day.

The film’s May 7 release date is closer than ever, though, but the still-looming COVID-19 pandemic makes any theatrical prospect uncertain. However, vaccination rates are accelerating in the U.S. and major cities are allowing theaters to reopen, giving fans more hope than ever that Black Widow might finally come out. This hope was cemented by a recent update on its worldwide release plan.

When does ‘Black Widow’ come out?

David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle, Rachel Weisz and Scarlett Johansson of Marvel Studios' 'Black Widow' at the San Diego Comic-Con
David Harbour, Florence Pugh, O-T Fagbenle, Rachel Weisz and Scarlett Johansson of Marvel Studios’ ‘Black Widow’ at the San Diego Comic-Con | Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Disney

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Despite the many reasons for optimism amid the ongoing pandemic, major Hollywood studios still seem keen to hold back their biggest releases until theaters are back 110%. Marvel Studios has also strongly resisted any manner of Disney+ release for Black Widow. They want their movies doing blockbuster theatrical business or nothing it seems.

Black Widow‘s May release date has been a huge question mark in recent months, but new signs point to it sticking this time. As reported on by outlets including BroBible, promo materials have recently confirmed an April 29 release date for the film in Hong Kong.

While it’s pretty standard for blockbusters to release early in international markets, the fact that Marvel is forging ahead with plans in Hong Kong indicates considerable confidence in Black Widow‘s current window. Industry insiders have frequently observed that the cost of mounting multiple start-stop marketing campaigns has been a major factor in pandemic delays. It’s hard to believe Marvel would commit to a release plan if they were still mostly unsure about it.

Many other factors point to the return of theaters

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Marvel’s marketing push for Black Widow overseas is far from the only sign that Hollywood is bullish about theaters. With reports indicating that the U.S. could have enough vaccines for every adult by the end of May, numerous films have actually moved up to the month in hopes of kickstarting the summer box office once again.

Sony recently moved Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway up from June 11 to May 14. Paramount made an even more drastic move, bringing John Krasinski’s A Quiet Place Part II all the way up from September to a Memorial Day weekend release.

Even some of the recent delays indicate faith in the return of theaters by the summer. Universal’s long-delayed Fast & Furious 9 was delayed only a month, from Memorial Day to June 25. The film was previously delayed a whole year when the pandemic first took hold in 2020.

Major cities have begun to reopen theaters as well. New York City allowed them to resume operations today, March 5, just in time for Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon. San Francisco allowed them to reopen earlier on March 3. Los Angeles seems like it isn’t far behind, as well, according to KTLA.