Combined sales from theaters and streaming earned Disney a solid profit.
The newest film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow, premiered over the weekend. Scarlet Johansson once again reprised her role as Natasha Romanoff, AKA former SHIELD agent and member of the Avengers, Black Widow. While Widow has always been a bit more of a low-key character compared to her super-powered teammates, her fascinating story and high-flying stunts have once again raked in the dollars for Marvel and Disney.
Black Widow released in simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+’s Premier Access subscription tier. In the domestic box office, the film brought in around $80 million over the weekend, while on Disney+, it earned an additional $60 million. Finally, international theater ticket sales brought in an extra $78 million. Even if you were only counting the domestic box office profits, Black Widow has already become the highest-grossing movie since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, beating out the previous record holder, F9, by a good $10 million.
“This is an unprecedented way of reporting opening weekend business for a film, but Disney deserves some credit for detailing what was generated by the actual box office and what was earned from streaming,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com. “Hopefully this sets a standard for even more transparency across the industry, but it’s crucial to keep perspective on the unique circumstances and times we’re living in.”
#BlackWidow has earned $218M+ in its worldwide opening weekend.
– $80M at domestic box office
– $78M at international box office
– $60M+ on Disney+ Premier Access
— DiscussingFilm (@DiscussingFilm) July 11, 2021
“The brand equity that Marvel brings to the table is almost unrivaled and is reflected in the historic box office that the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have generated,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “Therefore, It should come as no surprise that Black Widow snagged the biggest debut and powered the biggest overall weekend of the pandemic.”
While this profit is undoubtedly a success for Marvel and Disney, it does raise a question: will Disney continue to simultaneously release its films in theaters and on Disney+ for the foreseeable future, or will they be returning to a theater-only model? The numbers show that it could be a viable stopgap measure until the world fully reopens from the pandemic. However, Disney has already confirmed that their next MCU film, Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings, will be theatrical-only. The performance of that film could determine Disney’s plans going forward.