The National Association of Theater Owners is clear in their statement to the press: “Ticket sales for ‘Black Widow’ dropped dramatically in the second weekend after release. A successful cinema period is beneficial for everyone involved in the film. But due to its release on Disney+, the box office numbers are much lower than they could have been. In this way you also open the door to piracy: people will more quickly obtain illegal copies in high quality. And neither we nor Disney make any money from that.”
That’s not to say, however, that ‘Black Widow’ fared badly. The film broke several box office records during its opening weekend. The film has been in cinemas since July 7, and has since raised more than 200 million euros. Last weekend, however, the new animation film ‘Space Jam’ jumped a little too easily to that first place. Something that would never happen to a Marvel blockbuster if it couldn’t be seen elsewhere than in the cinema.
The simultaneous release on Disney+ came as a surprise, given that ‘Black Widow’ was delayed for more than a year to allow the print to hit theaters. Disney itself says it is satisfied with the new strategy. The company announced that ‘Black Widow’ also broke online records during its opening weekend.
Disney has not yet commented on the statement from the National Association of Theater Owners, but insiders say the simultaneous release would be just one way to “reach all viewers in challenging times.” It is therefore possible that they will go for a different approach after the corona crisis, which the cinemas will be happier with.