Is ‘Black Widow’ Coming to Disney+? Don’t Count on It, Says New Report
Marvel’s Black Widow is currently scheduled to hit theaters in May, a whole year after it was initially planned to release. Like many Hollywood films, especially big-budget blockbusters, it was forced to flee a release in 2020 due to the debilitating effects of COVID-19 on the theater business.
Certain smaller or mid-range studio films have been repackaged as exclusive streaming releases, including the likes of The Witches, The Trial of the Chicago 7, and Pixar’s Soul. Warner Bros. shook the industry with its plans to first release Wonder Woman 1984 and all of its 2021 releases simultaneously in theaters and HBO Max.
This had led to increasing pressure on Disney and Marvel to move Black Widow and other big releases to Disney+ rather than delaying further. Despite these calls from fans and investors, a new report indicates that no one should be holding their breath on the matter.
Will ‘Black Widow’ premiere on Disney+ instead of theaters?
The Hollywood Reporter has a new story citing industry insiders about the potential for blockbuster tentpoles to head to streaming. While mostly focused on Paramount’s slate, near the end it notes that, for now, Black Widow will be coming to theaters and there are no active plans to premiere the Marvel film on Disney+.
This runs contrary to other recent rumors, from the likes of DisInsider, that some sort of streaming bow was being planned for the Scarlet Johansson led superhero film. The idea suggested by these reports was something similar to Disney+ Premiere Access, a system whereby subscribers can pay $29.99 to unlock access to films like Mulan and the upcoming Raya and the Last Dragon the same day as a theatrical release.
Studios seem largely wary of wasting blockbusters on streaming
As mentioned above, the Hollywood Reporter’s new piece predominantly focuses on Paramount releases. It states that there are no plans for blockbusters like Top Gun: Maverick to move to streaming. The same is also true for smaller films like A Quiet Place Part II, which are expected to be big moneymakers.
This is particularly notable as March will see the debut of Paramount+, a major rebranding and expansion of CBS All Access to try and compete in the modern streaming landscape. So far, no Paramount theatrical releases have moved to help bolster the service’s lineup, except The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run in the U.S. The animated film sold to Netflix worldwide and only hit theaters in Canada.
The continued failure of major blockbusters at the box office is cited as the main culprit for this protective stance by studios. Tenet released in theaters exclusively in September and made only $363 million worldwide against a budget of over $200 million. The similarly budgeted Wonder Woman 1984 did even worse, pulling in less than $150 million worldwide.