Black Widow has been moved again this time to July 9th but now it will be both in cinemas and Disney+.
LA Times – The Walt Disney Co. has set a new opening date — July 9 — for its much-anticipated Marvel Studios film “Black Widow.” The feature will be released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ for an additional fee, the company said Tuesday.
Disney’s “Cruella” will be released May 28, also in theaters and through the Disney+ Premier Access strategy, which charges a $30 fee for new movies. Pixar’s “Luca” will go directly to Disney+ on June 18 for no additional charge.
The decision has been the subject of will-they-won’t-they speculation in Hollywood as theaters reopen in major cities in hopes that the return of blockbusters will draw filmgoers back to the big screen. Movie houses in the greater Los Angeles area reopened last week, following the return of cinemas in New York City.
Theater companies were hoping Disney would stick with its previously planned May 7 release date for “Black Widow.” The rollout of COVID-19 vaccines has boosted optimism among some analysts that audiences will start to come back to theaters when there are major Hollywood movies to see.
But continued concerns over the spread of the coronavirus and capacity limitations on theaters are still giving studios pause when it comes to their largest productions. Blockbusters depend on wide theatrical releases to become profitable.
“Today’s announcement reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences,” Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement. “By leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic, we will continue to employ the best options to deliver The Walt Disney Company’s unparalleled storytelling to fans and families around the world.”
With an estimated budget of more than $200 million, “Black Widow” certainly qualifies as a big Hollywood movie. Though films such as “Tom & Jerry” and “The Marksman” have come out during the COVID-19 pandemic, , most big-budget films have been pushed back.
The release date for the Scarlett Johansson superhero spy thriller has been delayed by roughly a year because of the pandemic, which kept indoor theaters closed for the bulk of the last 12 months. Its most recent postponement was in September, when Disney moved it to May 7 from Nov. 6 amid continued concerns about the coronavirus’ spread.
Disney’s announcement comes just after the British movie theater company Cineworld said that Regal Cinemas — the second largest U.S. chain — will reopen its doors starting in early April. The phased reopening begins with “a limited number of cinemas” opening for Warner Bros.’ “Godzilla vs. Kong” on April 2 and will expand with “Mortal Kombat” on April 16. Both movies go to HBO Max the same day they hit theaters.
Cineworld also said Tuesday that it had reached an agreement with Warner Bros. that will return the Burbank-based studio to the model of exclusive windows for theaters in 2022. Starting next year, Warner Bros. will release movies in theaters for 45 days before they can be released to the home through premium rentals.
The standard theatrical widow for new movies before the pandemic averaged about 90 days; attempts to close that gap were long resisted by theaters. But pandemic closures accelerated studios’ attempts to experiment with different models.
Universal previously reached similar agreements with AMC Theatres and Cinemark, the nation’s No. 1 and No. 3 chains, respectively. Under the deals, Universal movies can go to premium video on demand after 17 days. With Cinemark, the window lengthens to 31 days for movies that gross more than $50 million in an opening weekend.
Disney has pursued a three-pronged approach to releasing movies during the public health crisis. The entertainment giant sent “Hamilton” and “Soul” straight to Disney+ while theaters were hobbled. With “Mulan” and “Raya and the Last Dragon,” the company put the films on Disney+ through its Premier Access strategy. For other big movies, Disney has chosen to push back opening dates until a theatrical release is more likely to succeed.