Will Black Widow End Up In The Black?
And will Movie Theaters Rake It In? Any Bets?
Over the weekend, the smart folks at The Wall Street Journal posted about Black Widow.
Photo Credit: IMAX.comOf course, it wasn’t about the plot or the cinematography. No, it was about money, as in how much money Black Widow can recoup for Disney.
But first, last week, we posted about Disney’s decision to push Black Widow back into July and release both it and May’s Cruella simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+.
BREAKING NEWS: Black Widow and Cruella ALSO Coming To Disney+
Where Will Streaming Leave Theaters This Summer?
Throughout the week, we watched DIS stock prices as well as theater company reactions.
The Hollywood Reporter surmised:
[I]nsiders say many theater owners weren’t exactly happy. Nevertheless, they comprehend that every studio is pursuing a different model, particularly during the great streaming arms race.
Meanwhile, Marvel.com’s Rachel Paige dropped the deets on the plot of the film.
In Black Widow, Natasha Romanoff confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger. Directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige, the movie stars Scarlett Johansson reprising her role as Natasha Romanoff. Florence Pugh stars as Yelena Belova, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov aka Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff.
Tentpole Flick or Streaming Standout
From a fan’s standpoint, Black Widow has all the proper elements of a summer tentpole flick. However, that leaves us wondering what — exactly — The Mouse has in mind.
Disney has yet to publicly explain its reasoning, but the step was likely driven in part by concern about the state of the movie-theater market come May. A little over half the North American theater base had reopened by mid-March, according to Comscore data, and that number will grow notably higher as Cineworld Group begins reopening its Regal chain on April 2. But even reopened theaters still mostly operate at sharply reduced capacities. Analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush thinks capacity restrictions are unlikely to fully lift before the fourth quarter of this year.
And, as late as today, news stories nationwide tell of a possible uptick in COVID-19 cases, “the fourth wave.”
Disney’s new plan for “Black Widow” looks like a way to maximize the return for a $200 million movie that won’t be able to fill as many seats as its superhero movies typically do. It might also help boost Disney+ subscribers—a major priority for the company and a data point investors have watched closely.
Is Disney hedging its bets? Probably. But thus far, The Walt Disney Company has maintained momentum throughout 2021. So are they actually betting or playing with house money.
Finally, it will be interesting to see if the Bob’s in Burbank can keep big mo going.