Disney’s Most In-Demand Movie Is A Marvel Flop

Marvel's Black Widow is the most searched movie in more than 90 countries.

By Jonathan Klotz | Published

Black Widow may have been a box office flop when it was released, but now the Scarlett Johansson solo movie is the most searched Disney+ movie in over 90 countries. The COVID-19 pandemic forced fans to wait through multiple delays, after already demanding a solo movie for the beloved Avenger for years, until Disney finally released the completed film to theaters. In a move that ended up in a lawsuit, Disney also released Black Widow to Disney+ on the same day as the theatrical release.

Today, Black Widow is the most popular movie on Disney+ according to SimpleGhar. Among the countries where Black Widow is the top search result are the United States, Canada, and most of Western Europe. Second-place is Emma Stone’s Cruella, while third is the animated film Raya and the Last Dragon.

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Scarlet Johansson in Black Widow

While Black Widow is currently the most popular Marvel movie in the world, it was known as one of the least successful Marvel movies when first released. During the pandemic-influenced theatrical run, Black Widow only earned $379.8 million from the global box office. For a regular spy thriller, that would be a respectable number, but Black Widow’s total is only above two other Marvel movies: Captain America the First Avenger with $370.6 million and Edward Norton’s The Incredible Hulk at the bottom with $264.8 million.

Blame for the box office failure was placed on Disney for their decision to release the film on Disney+. Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney, stating the day and date of release violated a pledge Disney made to release Black Widow exclusively in theaters. The simultaneous streaming release also prevented the actress from achieving her full earnings which were partly based on the box office results.

Supporting evidence for the assertations made by Scarlett Johansson came from Disney themselves when the Disney Premier Access numbers were announced as part of an earnings call. The film made an additional $125 million through Disney’s pay-per-view system. Roughly two million households paid Disney directly to watch Black Widow during the same period as the theatrical release. Lawyers representing Johansson pointed out that profits from Disney Premier Access were not included in calculating the actress’s bonuses for box office results.

Disney and Scarlett Johansson settled the lawsuit weeks after it was filed and by all outward appearances, the relationship is still amicable. The actress is currently a producer for the upcoming Disney movie The Tower of Terror. Both sides have spoken highly of one another since settling the lawsuit, with rumors saying that Johansson will be working on a new Black Widow series for Disney.

Rumors are starting that Johansson will be reprising her role as Natasha Romanoff in the upcoming Secret Wars movie that will be the culmination of Marvel’s Phase 5 movies. In the meantime, Florence Pugh’s Yelena Belova has stepped in as the latest Black Widow in the MCU, making an appearance in Hawkeye. She will also take the lead in the villain team-up movie, Thunderbolts with Black Widow’s David Harbour when it releases on July 26th, 2024.

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