After Black Widow was delayed twice from its original release date of May 1st, 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Marvel movie starring Scarlett Johansson is now scheduled to open in U.S. theaters on May 7th. However, a new report suggests that the film could still be pushed back once again, as signs indicate that most cinemas may not be able to open until the summer or even later than that.
“As for Black Widow, expect the 2020 delay treatment should the theater situation not improve over the spring,” read a portion of a recent article from Variety Intelligence Platform. “Since it’s the first 2020s film from the franchise (Marvel Cinematic Universe) that propelled the studio to a now fictional-seeming $11 billion global gross in 2019, another delay before a last-ditch Disney+ release is more likely to occur.”
Though Disney had canceled the U.S. theatrical releases for both Mulan and Pixar’s Soul last year and had the two movies premiere exclusively on Disney+, the entertainment giant is understandably not eager in doing the same thing for Black Widow.
Black Widow has a production budget of $200 million, and with a marketing budget that is probably also in the high seven figures, Disney knows that they won’t make a profit on the movie without releasing it to theaters. While a premium access fee in Disney+ could help generate some revenue, there’s no assurance that it alone could cover the film’s production and marketing costs.
When asked if he thinks Black Widow will stick to a theatrical release or ultimately make its premiere on Disney+, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said it’s still too early to tell.
“If I had a crystal ball, I’d look into it and tell you. I don’t,” Feige told Deadline earlier this month. “Our long lead plan was to have the MCU and the storytelling woven between weekly episodic big swings on Disney+ and into the feature big swings in theaters. It’s my great hope that that continues. Don’t ask me week by week what is going to happen in this world, I have no idea and don’t want to guess.”
Directed by Cate Shortland, Black Widow picks up after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, with Natasha Romanoff (Johansson) finding herself alone and forced to confront a dangerous conspiracy connected to her past. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Romanoff must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
The first film in Phase Four of the MCU, Black Widow also stars Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov, aka Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff, among many others.