‘Black Widow’ Is A Hit Theatrically And Is Coming To Disney+


There’s been a lot of controversy over the past year and a half about the death of movie theaters, and for good reason. Most were closed for at least a few months during the height of the pandemic. Companies like The Walt Disney Company, NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia, and Viacom have begun prioritizing streaming for their movies, in part to increase subscribers’ interest in their own Netflix-style platforms.

Over the weekend came proof that theatrical distribution and streaming can coexist, at least for the biggest franchise movies and with a carefully calibrated pricing strategy.

At least for now.

“Black Widow,” a long-delayed Marvel movie, has raised nearly $80 million in the United States and Canada from Thursday night to Sunday for Disney. Abroad, the superhero movie sold for another $78 million in tickets. According to Rich Greenfield, founder of the LightShed Partners research firm, that means a total of about 17 million people went to see the movie in theaters. According to Mr. Greenfield’s calculations, Disney made about $98 million over the weekend after giving movie owners cuts in ticket sales.

Disney also launched “Black Widow” on its Disney+ streaming service, which has more than 100 million subscribers worldwide. Subscribers can watch the movie instantly (and have permanent access to the movie) for an additional $30. Disney said on Sunday that Disney+ made nearly $60 million from “Black Widow” orders over the weekend. Mr Greenfield said this figure equates to about two million transactions and about $48 million in revenue for Disney after the broadcast partners take their share. (Disney’s benefit in the form of new subscribers to Disney+ is unknown; subscriptions cost $8 per month.)

There are several takeaways. “Imagine you own a theater and the studios need you less and less every day,” Mr. Greenfield said on Twitter. “Leverage is rapidly shifting towards studios in the age of streaming.”

On the other hand, in the midst of rising coronavirus infections as a result of the Delta variant, the fact that 17 million people decided to leave their balloons and sit with strangers in a theater is nothing when you could press a button in their living room. to sneeze. For now, theatrical distribution remains a major source of income and cannot be ignored if studios are looking to monetize big-budget shows.

“This is an extremely impressive theatrical opening,” said David A. Gross, who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a film consultancy. “If every theater was open, there was zero concern with Covid and there was no broadcast option, the figure would definitely be higher. For now, these obstacles make the ‘Black Widow’ opening even more impressive.”


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