black widow, marvel, mcu, marvel studios, box office

All delays aren’t bad, at least in terms of box office during an ongoing global pandemic. Marvel’s BLACK WIDOW was set to be released in May of 2020 but was delayed several times due to the COVID-19 crisis that resulted in movie theaters being shuttered all over the world. Now that vaccines have begun to roll out more effectively and COVID-19 cases are going down in various areas, moviegoing is beginning to pick up again and even though Disney decided to further delay the release of Black Widow until July, some box office experts think the most recent delay will pay off nicely.

According to a new report, coming to us from “Observer“, Black Widow is expected to triple its domestic box office gross to about $170 million because Disney decided to push the film further into the summer months. Before the delay, which saw the film coming out in May this year, the domestic projection was just $45 million. The $170 million prediction seems pretty incredible especially considering that Disney+ subscribers will also have the option to pay an extra $29.99 to watch the movie at home through the streamer’s Premier Access program. With the global box office also picking up, particularly in China, the $200 million film has various avenues to make a profit, despite capacity limitations from most movie theaters. Jeff Bock, Box Office Analyst at Exhibitor Relations, had this to say about films that decided to delay their releases further into the summer:

“It’s very difficult to gauge the success of one film in terms of the entire industry going forward, especially in this transitionary period. That being said, [Godzilla vs. Kong]’s domestic debut gave both theatrical and streaming a much-needed boost, and its box office performance over the weeks to come will be tracked closely… As far as Marvel goes and other films that have pushed further back into summer, that can only help their cause at this point, as the science of things points to the film industry getting more resilient across the board. That’s excellent news for blockbusters, considering budgets usually balloon upwards of $200M these days.”

Bock’s comments seem pretty spot on. Godzilla Vs. Kong tested the waters last week as more movie theaters in big markets like Los Angeles and New York City have reopened at limited capacity and the result was a pandemic best $48.1 million five-day opening. This was also with the film streaming on HBO Max and it has been widely reported that Godzilla Vs. Kong gave HBO Max their biggest viewing audience to date. This is an example of the theatrical experience and streaming seemingly working very well together and showing both avenues can be successful during this ongoing transitionary period. Godzilla Vs. Kong has cleared $300 million worldwide and still has some left to gross even more money in the weeks ahead and this is a film releasing in March. Black Widow has the benefit of opening in July, a time when even more capacity restrictions will be lifted on movie theaters.

Black Widow has something to look forward to, at least in Los Angeles County. Governor Gavin Newsom announced this week that California will have a full reopening of its economy on June 15, 2021. This will be determined by keeping hospitalizations low and the full availability of vaccines. California has seen consistent declining numbers and they currently have “the lowest case rates and positivity rates in America.” The state has also passed 20 million vaccine doses being delivered to willing recipients. I say all of this to make a point that Los Angeles, which is the biggest box office market in the U.S. other than New York City, will have its movie theaters opened at full capacity by June 15 given our current trajectory. This is good news to any tentpole offering that has a late June and beyond release date. The normalcy that the industry was seeking seems to be on the horizon and this has to make studios excited for the potential of some of their bigger films on the release calendar. 

Do YOU agree that Black Widow will see a larger box office result due to its most recent delay? Black Widow hits screens and Disney+ Premier Access on July 9, 2021.

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