If there’s one movie that was hotly anticipated primarily due to how many times it was delayed, it’s probably Black Widow. It had several delays, with only a few of them due to the COVID pandemic that put most of the media development on hold. However, finally, after all of those many delays, the Black Widow movie has made its way onto the big screen, and thus far, it’s done very, very well.
This past weekend was Black Widow’s opening in domestic theaters, being viewed at more than 4,000 theaters across North America to the tune of $80 million. This number completely overshadowed early predictions of the movie’s performance, and it outperformed F9: The Fast Saga quite easily. Of course, we’re singing its domestic praises right now, but Black Widow did quite well internationally as well, earning $78 million in worldwide box offices.
Now, these numbers may not be that shocking or admirable under normal circumstances: it is a Marvel movie after all, and thanks to their reputation, it’s pretty normal that a lot of people would be going to check it out. It’s actually something else that makes the movie’s initial success so remarkable.
No, what was really shocking was how much money the movie made through Premier Access rentals on Disney+. That number was an additional $60 million. Note that this $60 million is not part of the $80 million we mentioned for the domestic box office, but an additional amount made via an entirely different platform. It’s also worth noting that Disney typically keeps their streaming revenue numbers a big secret: they didn’t even do that for their other big Disney+ releases this year, Cruella and Raya and The Last Dragon.
Disney has stated that, if you combine both the Disney+ Premier Access opening and the theatrical release, Black Widow is the only movie to hit and surpass the $100 million revenue mark since the beginning of the COVID pandemic. On top of that, the movie has the third-highest revenue opening weekend for a Marvel origin film, behind Captain Marvel and Black Panther. Early reviews of the movie have been mostly positive, though there’s no denying that the drought of Marvel theatrical films over the past few months probably made audiences more receptive.
The statement from Disney media and entertainment distribution chairman Kareem Daniel went as follows:
“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+.”
With how much Black Widow stomped the other movies that came out this weekend (the second-place movie, F9: The Fast Saga, made only $10.8 million), it seems that Marvel hype is still very much alive, and Disney can probably expect great things from Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which is coming out on September 3rd.