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Black Widow Movie Theatrical Release Will Be Last-Minute Call Says Disney CEO


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Disney CEO Bob Chapek says Black Widow's theatrical release will likely be a last-minute call. The long-awaited film was originally supposed to release in May 2020 and kick off the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 4. Of course, those plans were greatly disrupted by the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, and Black Widow has been delayed multiple times in the past year. It is now slated to come out in May 2021, but there are those in Hollywood convinced it will have to move again due to the uncertainty surrounding the theatrical marketplace.

With COVID-19 vaccines being distributed and movie theaters reopening in major markets like Los Angeles and New York, there are reasons for optimism. However, there's still a long way to go before something approaching the pre-pandemic normal. Medical experts believe theaters won't be safe until a year after vaccines are readily available. Because of this, the upcoming summer movie calendar is in a state of flux, with multiple titles already moving back to the fall. Right now, Black Widow is standing firm in its May slot, but that could change at any given moment.

Speaking with Bloomberg, Chapek discussed the prospect of Black Widow releasing on time, stating Disney has to keep their options open considering the circumstances. Read his comments in the space below:

 

‚ÄúOur situation and our conditions change. Just a few weeks ago, theaters in New York and Los Angeles weren‚Äôt even open. Now, all of a sudden they‚Äôre open, so we‚Äôre waiting to see how prospective theatergoers respond to these reopenings. We‚Äôre going to remain flexible. We‚Äôll make the call probably at the last minute in terms of how these films come to market, whether it‚Äôs Black Widow or any other title.‚ÄĚ

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Disney taking a wait-and-see approach is smart, but there are risks with that strategy. There hasn't been a new Black Widow trailer in over a year, and it will be necessary to restart the marketing campaign in the weeks leading up to the movie's debut. It stands reason to believe Disney will have to make a decision on Black Widow's release date soon, so they give themselves enough time to promote the film and raise awareness. Based on Chapek's comments, it sounds like whether or not there's another delay will depend on what kind of turnout New York and Los Angeles theaters see the first few weeks they're open. If they do solid business, then perhaps Black Widow will stay where it is. As a massive tentpole, it's obviously reliant on ticket sales in order to turn a profit.

The alternative is exploring a streaming release for Black Widow. Ever since the film was delayed for the first time, there have been countless rumors regarding it going to Disney+, but Marvel Studios is reluctant to release their movies on streaming. Depending on what happens with the vaccine rollout and theaters over the next few weeks, the studio may not have a choice. It's possible Black Widow could become the latest Premier Access title on Disney+, being made available for subscribers at an additional cost the same day as theaters. Another option would be a shortened theatrical window, similar to what Paramount is doing with Mission: Impossible 7 and A Quiet Place 2. But with Phase 4 underway via Disney+ TV shows, Black Widow is going to have to be released at some point - regardless of the state of the pandemic.

Black Widow (2021)
Release Date: May 07, 2021

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