After the Christmas day release of Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman 1984, industry watchers turned their attention to the May 7th release of Marvel’s Black Widow as the next blockbuster on the schedule with the potential to wake exhibition up from its pandemic-induced slumber. Pre-COVID, it was a lock for any Marvel release to generate hundreds of millions of dollars in box office revenues. But as Black Widow’s release date approached and the expected pre-release marketing campaigns were not materializing, anxiety began to creep in that Disney was working on a change of plans. This week, the studio made it official by announcing that Black Widow would be pushed back two months to July 9th and, that it would also be available on the same day on Disney+ as a premium $30 film rental. Disney also announced that Cruella’s theatrical release would be maintained on 5/28 but that it would also appear simultaneously on Disney+ as a premium rental. While these release changes may cost Disney at the box office, it had become increasingly difficult for them to keep to a traditional theatrical release, without adding on the additional “opportunity” for consumers to access these films over streaming. Alternatively, it would be increasingly disruptive to further postpone their theatrical release dates further, since there is already a logjam of other Disney releases waiting for their opportunity.
See also: POLL RESULTS: Will You See Black Widow on Disney+ or in Theaters? (COMINGSOON.Net)