Disney delays Black Widow debut, will be available on Disney+ for fee

LOS ANGELES : The Walt Disney Company on Tuesday delayed the worldwide release of Marvel Studios film Black Widow by two months until July 9 and said it would offer the superhero blockbuster simultaneously in theatres and for a fee on the Disney+ streaming service.

Theatre operators had been hoping that Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson as the Russian-born spy-turned-superhero, would kick off a summer blockbuster season in early May and draw crowds back to theatres after closures because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Disney added that it would offer live-action Emma Stone movie Cruella for a fee to Disney+ customers on the same day it hits cinemas, which is scheduled for May 28, and that Italy-inspired Pixar animated movie Luca will skip most theatres and debut to all Disney+ subscribers on June 18.

Cruella and Black Widow will cost Disney+ customers an additional US$30 (S$40) each to stream at home.

"Today's announcement reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences," Disney media and entertainment distribution chairman Kareem Daniel said in a statement.

The company also delayed a handful of other films, including Marvel film Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, which is now set to reach theatres on Sept 3 instead of July 9.

The next big-budget action movie on theatres' summer schedule is Fast & Furious 9 on June 25. - REUTERS