Disney’s Black Widow release strategy angers cinema owners following box office underperformance

·1-min read
Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in ‘Black Widow' (Marvel Studios)

Black Widow, the latest film in the MCU, has caused uproar with cinema chains following its release on Disney Plus.

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) has criticised the studio for its strategy that saw the film released to cinemas and the studio’s streaming service simultaneously.

In a press release, the NATO criticised Disney for the film’s underperformance at the box office and urged the media giant to revert back to cinema only releases: 

It said: “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.”

The statement went on to cite piracy via Disney Plus as another reason for the lesser than expected revenue, “Piracy no doubt further affected Black Widow’s performance, and will affect its future performance in international markets where it has yet to open,” the organisation said.

Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in ‘Black Widow' (Marvel Studios)
Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh in ‘Black Widow' (Marvel Studios)

The announcement concludes: “Pristine digital copies became available within minutes of release on Disney+. Black Widow was the most torrented movie for the week ending 12 July.”

To date, Black Widow – which had a budget of $200m (£146.5m) – currently has global box office takings of $263.6m (£193m).

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