Black Widow debuts with US$80m in theatres, US$60m on Disney+

LOS ANGELES – Disney and Marvel’s superhero adventure Black Widow captured a massive US$80 million (S$108m) in its first weekend, crushing the benchmark for the biggest opening weekend since the pandemic.

In a first for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the Scarlett Johansson-starring film opened simultaneously in theatres and on Disney+ as part of the streaming service’s Premier Access offering, where subscribers can rent Black Widow for an extra US$30. 

Disney reported that it generated more than US$60 million “in Disney+ Premier Access consumer spend globally”, marking the rare occasion in which a studio discloses revenues for digital rentals.

Overseas, Black Widow collected US$78 million in its debut, boosting its global box office haul to US$158 million.

Disney didn’t share viewership data for the previously released Cruella starring Emma Stone and the animated Raya And The Last Dragon, which also premiered simultaneously in theatres and on Disney+.

It’s unclear if Disney will continue to report digital rentals for the upcoming action adventure Jungle Cruise, which opens in cinemas and on Disney+ on July 30.

In a statement on Sunday morning, Disney’s media and entertainment distribution chairman Kareem Daniel said “Black Widow’s strong performance this weekend affirms our flexible distribution strategy of making franchise films available in theatres for a true cinematic experience and, as Covid concerns continue globally, providing choice to consumers who prefer to watch at home on Disney+”.

After a brutal year and change for the movie theatre business, the performance of Black Widow is encouraging to Hollywood and film exhibitors alike. 

David A. Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, says Marvel remains in a league of its own at the box office. 

After all, few film franchises would still be able to galvanise audiences 24 films in.

He said: “Certainly the figure would be higher if every theatre were open, if there were zero concern with Covid, and if there weren’t a streaming option.

“For now, those impediments make Black Widow’s opening all the more impressive.” 

Universal’s Fast & Furious 9 came in a distant second place with US$10.8 million. 

Since it was released on the big screen three weeks ago, the action sequel starring Vin Diesel has generated US$141 million in North America.

At the international box office, it crossed the US$400 million mark, boosting its global total to US$541.8 million. - REUTERS