Disney has finally made the dreaded move. Marvel’s Black Widow will have a da-and-date release in theaters and on Disney+ on Jul 09, 2021. The move brings an end to the uncertainty surrounding the MCU’s first Phase 4 movie that was initially slated for release on May 2020 but kept being pushed multiple times. More recently, it also brings an end to the debate on whether Disney will release an MCU movie to streaming.
Additionally, another MCU movie has had its release date shifted in light of this news. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will now release on September 3, 2021. It’s unclear at this point whether this one will be exclusive to theaters or debut on Disney+ on the same day like Black Widow. Kareem Daniel, Chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution issued the following statement.
Today’s announcement reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences. 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.
The news from Deadline might be disheartening to fans who have grown accustomed to seeing MCU releases in theaters, even anticipating them in huge numbers. More importantly, Black Widow was a female-led film of a much beloved character. This move quashes any hopes of Black Widow surpassing $1 billion or anything close. If recent PVOD performance is any indication, the movie may struggle to recoup its budget and may wind up as the lowest grossing MCU movie of all time, even beneath The Incredible Hulk.
Sadly, with the recent news about Warner Bros. ready to nix its day-and-date release plans with 2022, there was hope that the theatrical exclusivity was on its way back. Alas, for movie theaters, that was not meant to be. Marvel was the brand they were banking on and with this move, movie theaters have nothing exclusive to offer for the entirety of 2021. There’s still a sliver of a chance that things improve so dramatically that Disney weighs in and alters course. But as of now, expect Black Widow‘s leaked prints to be available online all over the internet for download.
All that said, it at least gives worldwide fans hope that they’ll be able to watch Black Widow around its release date, one way or another. How exactly fans manage to keep spoilers at bay with this kind of a release should be interesting to see.
Black Widow releases on Jul 9, 2021 in theaters and on Disney+ as PVOD for a fee of $30. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings releases on Sep 3, 2021.