Theater Companies Blast Disney for Making “Black Widow” Immediately Available on Disney+

From the Walt Disney World News and written by: Sean Sposato

Movie houses on Sunday were not very happy with The Walt Disney Co. following the release of the company’s recent Marvel Cinematic Universe film “Black Widow.” The film was held from theaters for a year following the COVID-19 pandemic in an attempt to get more seats filled in theaters upon its release. However, because the company simultaneously released the film on its Disney+ streaming service for an additional fee at the time of its release, theaters are saying it hurt the movie’s potential at the box-office.

Per a press release from the National Association of Theater Owners, Black Widow suffered a “stunning collapse in its second weekend in theatrical revenues,” in addition to dropping an unprecedented 41 percent from Friday to Saturday during its opening over its opening weekend of July 9-11.

“Despite assertions that this pandemic-era improvised release strategy was a success for Disney and the simultaneous release model, it demonstrates that an exclusive theatrical release means more revenue for all stakeholders in every cycle of the movie’s life,” NATO said.

For those not familiar, the film was available on Disney+ as part of Premier Access, which runs fans at home an additional $30 to stream the film. According to THR, through Sunday, Black Widow’s global box-office total was $264 million and more than $324 million included revenue from Disney+ Premier Access.

“The many questions raised by Disney’s limited release of streaming data opening weekend are being rapidly answered by Black Widow’s disappointing and anomalous performance,” said NATO. “The most important answer is that simultaneous release is a pandemic-era artifact that should be left to history with the pandemic itself.” Disney has not responded to these claims made by NATO.

Additionally, the organization went on to question how much password sharing there is among Disney+ subscribers. Not to mention, the fact that “pristine digital copies became available within minutes of release of the film on Disney.”

The organization went on to say that “Black Widow” has officially been the most torrented movie for the week ending July 12 and is available on a myriad of illegal streaming sites all over the internet.

What are your thoughts on Disney releasing the film on both Disney+ and in theaters and its affect on movie houses? Let us know in the comments! 

Sean Sposato
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