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‘Black Widow’ Achieves $80 Million in Opening Weekend

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The latest addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, Black Widow, debuted over the weekend. Scarlet Johansson returned to her role as Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow, a former SHIELD agent and Avenger. Despite being a more understated character compared to her superhuman colleagues, Black Widow’s captivating narrative and action-packed sequences have once again proven to be a financial success for Marvel and Disney.

Black Widow was released simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+’s Premier Access subscription tier. The film grossed around $80 million in the U.S. box office during its opening weekend, while it garnered an additional $60 million on Disney+. Moreover, international theater ticket sales added another $78 million to the revenue. Even solely based on domestic box office earnings, Black Widow has already become the highest-grossing movie since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, surpassing the previous record-holder, F9, by $10 million.

Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, praised Disney for providing a breakdown of the revenue sources for the opening weekend. “This method of reporting film business is unprecedented, and it’s commendable that Disney has disclosed the box office and streaming earnings separately,” Robbins stated. He also emphasized the importance of recognizing the unique circumstances of the current times.

Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, highlighted Marvel’s unparalleled brand strength and the box office success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe films. “It’s no surprise that Black Widow achieved the highest debut and led to the most successful weekend during the pandemic,” Dergarabedian remarked.

While the financial performance of Black Widow is undeniably impressive, it raises the question of whether Disney will continue the simultaneous theater and Disney+ release strategy or revert to exclusive theatrical releases. The data suggests that this hybrid model could be a viable interim solution until a full post-pandemic recovery. However, Disney has confirmed that their next MCU film, Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings, will have a theatrical-only release. The reception of this film may influence Disney’s future distribution strategies.

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