(Image credit: Marvel Studios).
(Image credit: Marvel Studios).

Black Widow’s Release Date Change

Were you expecting the Black Widow release date to stick to May 7? Well, Disney just flipped the script. Black Widow, the movie that Disney seemed dead-set against putting on Disney Plus will debut on the streaming service the same day it his theaters — July 9.

The movie won't be free, though, but behind the Disney Plus Premier Access paywall. This is the big news out of Disney's movie releases announcement.

Possible Pricing for Black Widow on Disney Plus

Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in Black Widow. Photograph: Allstar/Marvel Studios/Disney/Jay Maidment
Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in Black Widow. Photograph: Allstar/Marvel Studios/Disney/Jay Maidment

Disney has not announced pricing for Black Widow, but one would assume it'll stick to $30. While that's a great price for a family skipping the theaters, it's awfully high when normal video-on-demand movies cost $15 or $20. HBO Max, for example, is giving away free big-time Warner Bros. Pictures movies with its $15 per month pricing.

This news means that all audiences can watch Black Widow on the same date, regardless of if they feel comfortable going back to theaters during the still-ongoing pandemic.

Read More: Black Widow: Release Date, How to Watch, Disney+ Streaming

Other movies' schedules announced

Disney also announced new theatrical release dates for five upcoming films, including the Marvel movie Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.

Free Guy on August 13, 2021

Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on September 3, 2021

The King’s Man on December 22, 2021

Deep Water on January 14, 2022

Death on the Nile on February 11, 2022

The move to put Black Widow on Premier Access is a no-brainer if you ask us. We've been waiting forever for it, as Black Widow was one of the few Avengers characters to not have a solo movie until now. Plus, the original release date was May 2020, and the movie was delayed multiple times since, with this being the most recent — pushing the film back from May to July.

Why Disney Could Change Its Mind About Black Widow’s Schedule

- Covid-19 situation in Europe is the biggest concern

The U.S. has a long way to go in distributing vaccines, but it is doing far better than most of Europe. The European community’s vaccine of choice has just received approval for wide use; meanwhile, new COVID strains take hold and Italian representatives suggest that the country might shut down again over Easter. Any or all of that uncertainty could warrant a decision to delay all dates.

- Keeping it exclusive

How would theaters feel if “Black Widow’ keeps the May 7 date, but loses the exclusive? Would it be enough of a draw to get Cinemark and other circuits on board, the ones that refused to play “Raya and the Lost Dragon” (over rental terms and not PVOD alone)?

Exhibitors are counting on the Marvel film to ignite business, but would they prefer a delay if that allowed them to keep a 45-day window? “Mulan” was not in theaters and went PVOD with Disney+. “Soul” was no theaters, all Disney+ subscribers. “Raya” was PVOD/Disney+ and theaters. Might the compromise, as some industry players not with Disney speculate, be PVOD (in unspecified fashion) three weeks after theater exclusive?

One major change since the 2020 releases is Disney+ is now available in most of Western Europe. It might be tempting to test those waters.

- Disney would be a first

By May 7, nearly all theaters will be running and other significant titles will have run with “Godzilla Vs. Kong” and “Mortal Kombat” from Warner Bros. Still, “Black Widow” would be the first 2021 film to cost $200 million or more before marketing. Having waited so long, it might make sense to wait a little more. Does Marvel want to take a risk of “Tenet” underperformance?

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