Despite a strong showing by F9, which previously held the pandemic box office record for close to a week, Black Widow came swooping in and knocked Vin Diesel and his crew out of the top as the Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh spy-venture dominated ticket sales. Black Widow brought in an $80 million domestic haul, besting Dom and the gang by a good $10 million. To put the affects of the pandemic in perspective, America hasn’t had a box office haul this big since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker in December 2019.
While Black Widow‘s success shows that audience are ready to return the theaters, Disney pulled a surprising move while announcing Black Widow‘s box office, which could have massive implications going forward. For the first time, the House of Mouse has shared its internal numbers for Disney+ with Premier Access purchases, and according to Disney, Black Widow racked up $60 million through Premier Access.
That’s a game-changing number, and Disney is notably spiking the ball on the hybrid release strategy. Via Deadline:
“Once again, Marvel has delivered an exceptional film to the delight of fans worldwide with Black Widow achieving numerous milestones in the current marketplace,” said Kareem Daniel, Chairman, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, in a statement. “Black Widow’s strong performance this weekend affirms our flexible distribution strategy of making franchise films available in theaters for a true cinematic experience and, as COVID concerns continue globally, providing choice to consumers who prefer to watch at home on Disney+.”
It’s interesting to note that F9 is a purely theatrical release, which means if you wanted to see it, your only option is the theater. And, yet, it was still bested at the box office by Black Widow even with a sizable amount of its audience choosing to stay home. Could this development mean Disney will pull the trigger on giving Shang-Chi and other Marvel titles a Premier Access release? We’ll have to wait and see how that plays out.
However, as Deadline notes, Black Widow had a massive Friday to Saturday drop in box office: 41% to be exact, which is the largest dip for any Marvel movie. Did Premier Access eat into those numbers, or are we still seeing the effects of the pandemic on ticket sales? It’ll be interesting to see how the situation shakes out as the industry closely watches how Disney reacts.