With the amount of content that Disney Premier Access has been pumping out, it should not come as a shock that Disney is making money hand over fist. Cruella, Jungle Cruise, and Black Widow are just some of the titles that Disney+ has been charging rental fees for. Subscribers may have assumed that Disney was making a decent amount, but now specific numbers have been released. According to FlixPatrol, Disney has made $933 million for their premier access. This seems to indicate that the hybrid of theatrical and streaming releases concurrently is working for the brand. CEO Bob Chapek states that he will continue to pursue this strategy.
There is no doubt that the company is benefiting off of Disney Premier Access, though not everyone has been pleased. Only recently has the lawsuit between Scarlett Johansson and Disney been resolved. Earlier this year, Johansson sued Disney over the very issue of the streaming and theatrical release hybrid. She cited that she was contractually promised that there would be an exclusive theatrical release of the film (via Variety). Johansson argued that this would impact sales at the box office. Luckily the two parties settled out of court and came to an agreement. Scarlett Johansson stated that it was a matter of principle and knowing her worth helped her stand up for herself. Kevin Feige also backed Johansson’s play, evidently upset that Disney had gone behind the actor’s back (via MovieWeb).
Johansson is not the only one to call an issue with this trend of hybridization. Denis Villeneuve was publicly critical of the decision to release his sci-fi epic Dune in theaters as well as on HBO Max (via Variety). Villeneuve was concerned that Dune Part 2 would not be greenlit if box office sales were not exemplary. Fortunately for fans, Dune will be getting a sequel (per IndieWire). Disney Premier Access seems to be charging forward with hybridization despite the press. It is not difficult to understand why when looking at the numbers.
If Disney Premier Access is looking for new content, then they have some options. David Harbour has recently come out with hopes of doing a solo movie for his Black Widow character, Red Guardian. In the recent film, The Red Guardian was part of an undercover operation in America where Natasha and Yelena Belova (Florence Pugh) posed as his daughters. In an interview with Insider, Harbour expresses interest in expanding the character. “I have two ideas. One is seeing Red Guardian back in his prime. That’s interesting to me,” Harbour states. “But the other is going off this story, having this experience with Natasha and having this beautiful end when he takes her hand and says ‘I can’t even speak to you because I would mess it up.’ When he finds out that she was on that cliff with Hawkeye and maybe the version of the story he hears is that Hawkeye pushed her off or something, it’s a moment when Red Guardian turns back to the guy he was. He now wants vengeance for her. That I feel would play well.”
Harbour is correct in assuming that would play well. In fact, Disney may have that exact idea already in motion. However, it does not appear to be with Harbour’s Red Guardian. A post-credit scene for Black Widow indicated that Yelena may be the one to confront Clint Barton. Yelena appears to still be selling her services as an international spy. This time with Valentina Allegra de Fontaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). Val tells Yelena that Clint was responsible for Natasha’s death.
Yelena is slated to appear on Disney+ show Hawkeye for three episodes. She has not appeared yet, but when she does, it stands to reason that she will attempt to confront Clint. Disney clearly has no lack of publicity and subscribers intent on watching as much content as possible. Reactions towards Hawkeye have been largely positive, with a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Fans can stream the show on Wednesdays on Disney+