Disney CEO Bob Chapek Says The Decision To Give ‘Black Widow’ An Exclusive Theatrical Run Will Be ‘Last Minute’

In another, better timeline, Black Widow would have come out last May. Instead the next Marvel movie is due in theaters this May, being one of many blockbusters that decided to wait out the pandemic, to see if humanity finally got a handle on a once-in-a-century catastrophe. Jump a whole year and, alas, even its current May 7 due date is being optimistic. Disney honcho Bob Chapek knows it, too, and when asked whether the long-delayed solo vehicle for Scarlett Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff would be getting an exclusive theatrical run, his answer was refreshingly honest — which is to say he doesn’t know.

Chapek appeared on Bloomberg Television, interviewed in front of Disneyland in California, which recently set a limited capacity reopening for late April. When asked about Black Widow, he noted that everything, now, still, even with the increasing vaccine rollout, is in flux.

“Our situation and our conditions change,” Chapek said. “Just a few weeks ago, theaters in New York and Los Angeles weren’t even open. Now, all of a sudden they’re open, so we’re waiting to see how prospective theatergoers respond to these reopenings. We’re going to remain flexible. We’ll make the call probably at the last minute in terms of how these films come to market, whether it’s Black Widow or any other title.”

Marvel, of course, is owned by Disney, and the company has either made their big films available free with a Disney+ subscription (Onward, Soul) or in theaters and PVOD simultaneously (Raya and the Last Dragon). So Black Widow could wind up dropped in multiplexes, to socially distancing crowds, and for $30 over their streamer.

Movie theaters in New York City opened two Fridays ago, while Los Angeles ones opened earlier this week — both having been shuttered since mid-March of last year. While movie theater attendance has since skyrocketed, it’s still nowhere near what it was pre-pandemic — in part because the pandemic is still very much in full swing. And even though vaccines are being more distributed than ever, only a small portion of the country is fully vaccinated, and anxieties about contracting or spreading COVID-19 remain.

So will people feel comfortable enough in less than two months to go see the first new Marvel movie in almost two years? (The last one, Spider-Man: Far from Home, came out in July of 2019.) Like Chapek, we’ll just have to wait and see. But for now, Black Widow is due in theaters on May 7.

(Via Deadline)