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The movie industry has been suffering for over a year as studios have been making he barest minimum of income while incredibly expensive films are delayed. There's clearly been a desire to release these movies so that the major studios can recoup at least some of the investment that they've made, but at the same time the studios need to maximize that return as much as possible. But that also means at some point the movie simply has to get out and start to make some money. And it appears that by waiting just a bit longer on releasing Black Widow, Disney may have secured a much stronger box office return.
According to the Observer, when Black Widow was originally going to be released last May, was projected to bring in only around $45 million domestically in total. Now, with the movie set to open in early July, that number has jumped to $170 million, and it's tracking to have an opening weekend that exceeds that previous total. While that number is still significantly down from what we would normally expect to see from a Marvel movie release, it has to be good news for Marvel Studios and Disney, as every little bit helps in this case.
And really, Black Widow will do even better than that, as the May total was based on a theatrical only release. When Black Widow opens in July, it will also open with a Disney+ Premier Access option, and some number of people will certainly drop the $30 to check that out. While Disney hasn't been releasing Premier Access viewing numbers, it seems like a foregone conclusion that Black Widow will be the most successful Premier Access title to date and whatever money it brings in will be on top of a much stronger box office. The only potential hurdle here would be the fact that Top Gun: Maverick is currently set to open just before Black Widow. As crazy as it seems right now, by July we could see actual competition for box office dollars,
While the size of the box office spike in only a two month gap is surprising, the fact that we're seeing that spike is not so much. We just saw Godzilla vs. Kong have a nearly $300 million global opening, signaling that there is an interest in audiences returning to theaters right now. The number of people more confident in going back to the theater is only going to increase over the next couple of months. The number of vaccinated people is expected to increase significantly soon, which will likely give many more people more confidence.
Black Widow's time in the MCU is on Disney+ now. You can use this link to sign up for the streaming service.
Disney had likely done their own math on this and pushing the movie back was almost certainly done, in part, for this very reason. If Black Widow has a box office close to the new projection domestically, and has international success as good or better than Godzilla vs. Kong, then Black Widow could end up having a financially successful box office run. It won't make as much money as your average Marvel movie, but it could conceivably still make some money, which would be a huge signal for the industry at large.
And fans have waited nearly a year for Black Widow, so at this point waiting another couple of months likely won't dampen spirits too much. The Disney+ MCU series have shown that the franchise is still popular with fans despite the long hiatus. Whether they watch Black Widow on the big screen or on Disney+, it does appear they will be watching in large numbers come July.