The Scarlett Johansson solo movie is one that fans have been waiting much too long for. Now that it’s finally here and reviews are coming out, it’s being released in a new way. Fans can watch the movie in theaters, as they have for many Marvel movies before, or they can pay $30 in addition to their regular Disney+ membership for Premier Access to stream the movie at home. In times like these, how do we read box office success? Especially when streamers don’t ever put dollar figures on their releases? Well, when it comes to a franchise like Marvel, box office success is an essential part of their reputation. And so, for Black Widow, they decided to release box office numbers from the movie theater and also throw in their Premier Access figures for Black Widow to give the Scarlett Johansson solo feature the record-breaking figures they want the world to know.
Disney sent out an announcement from some box office figures for the opening weekend of Black Widow. They put the Scarlett Johansson movie at $215 million for the worldwide figures. When they broke these numbers down, it added up to $80 million at the domestic box office, $78 million in international sales for the box office, and then $60 million for Disney+ Premier Access. While they’ve previously released movies with premier access, like Mulan and Cruella, the studio didn’t give us figures. It’s unknown if they’ll ever do so again, but it isn’t expected for it to become the norm at this time.
These numbers were released from Disney and reported by Deadline. All that Disney had to say about these numbers were overwhelmingly positive. They want the world to know that Marvel movies are back in a huge way. That we can expect major releases again. And that Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow was an instant success. And, yes, as far as opening weekend box office numbers go, this is amazing. These are Marvel numbers.
These are numbers that surpass what we’ve seen recently. A Quiet Place 2 got the box office rolling again after pandemic lockdowns. We saw it bring in $57 million during its opening weekend. After 15 days in movie theaters, the horror sequel managed to break $100 million at the domestic box office. It was the first movie to do that in a run in theaters since the pandemic lockdowns began. This opening weekend for the Scarlett Johansson solo movie is big and suggests that movie theaters are ready for blockbusters again.
However, Black Widow is also being judged for its hybrid release model. Would the Scarlett Johansson movie have made more money if it had released only in theaters for the first 90 days? Does this hurt Disney, or just movie theaters? What effect does the streaming option have on the industry?
There’s an important figure that Disney isn’t drawing a lot of public attention to, and that is in the sales decline over time. Fans have waited for the Scarlett Johansson solo movie for a long time. When Marvel fans wait for something, they see it as soon as it comes out. They want to avoid spoilers online and see the movie with other fans. This means a lot of them lined up to see Black Widow on Thursday and Friday at movie theaters. On Saturday, you see more of the casual audience showing up at the box office. The box office numbers showed a steep decline by Saturday for Black Widow. This decline for Black Widow was at 41%. Comparatively, Captain Marvel saw a 14% drop as did Ant-Man. More recently, F9 saw a 25% drop and A Quiet Place 2 saw a 22% drop.
Marvel waited a long time to release Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow so they could get the movie in theaters, as it was meant to be seen. However, this drop from Thursday/Friday to Saturday likely means more people were streaming for Disney+ during that period. When it comes to the long-tail, the overall worldwide box office figures for Black Widow’s long run in the theaters, what will ticket sales look like when more people can watch at home on week two, three, and beyond? Endgame made $1.2 billion its opening weekend, but $2.798 billion overall. Will the steep decline at the movie theaters mean less money for Marvel in the end? Or will it just mean less money at the movie theaters?