‘Black Widow’ opening weekend: Successful as it seemed?

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Scarlett Johansson stars in Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow,” now in theaters and on Disney+. Photo courtesy of Marvel Studios.

Marvel Studios’ superhero spy thriller “Black Widow” opened last weekend to the tune of $215 million in global revenue. Those earnings come partly due to the film’s dual release in theaters and on premium video on demand, which allows viewers to stream it on Disney+ by paying $30. Disney boasted that the $30 upcharge raked in $60 million, with domestic theatrical screenings clearing $80 million.  

While the release initially appears to be a success, a closer look at the numbers shows a sharp drop-off at the box office from Friday through Saturday and Sunday, much lower than for a typical Marvel movie. There’s little evidence to show that the lost revenue is being made up from streaming customers. 

Further confounding the data is the pandemic, which makes it difficult to know how many viewers opted to stay home rather than go to the theater, and vice versa. With these different factors, it’s unclear what long-term effect(s) the dual theater-PVOD model has on the film industry.



Kaitlin Parker