Usually, when a film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe is playing in the theaters, no other film can compete with its box-office performance. But in a surprising turn of events, the LeBron James led Space Jam: A New Legacy, which hasn’t exactly been a favorite of critics since its release three days ago, has bypassed Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow at the box office by grossing $13.2 million on the very first day of its release.
As reported by The Hollywood Reporter, despite receiving many positive reviews, the Scarlett Johansson standalone film has suffered a steep drop of 80 percent with a box office revenue of $8 million on the second Friday since its debut, after going strong for more than a week. On the other hand, Space Jam: A New Legacy has only steadily fallen when it comes to critics’ reviews. Currently, the film holds a low rating of 31% on Rotten Tomatoes. While LeBron James has received praise for his efforts, the film has been severely panned for being less invested in telling an original and quirky story like the 1996 classic starring Michael Jordan and more focused on product placement.
It has been estimated that the Scarlett Johansson movie is the second Marvel Cinematic Universe film to have suffered such a steep drop in its second weekend after Ant-Man and The Wasp. The stars haven’t exactly aligned for the Black Widow release, which had been highly anticipated before its initial release date in 2020. But the film was delayed three times due to the COVID-19 pandemic that hurt its potential at the box office as immense hype around it slowly diminished. It was further hit when Disney took the decision of releasing the film in theaters as well as on its streamer with Premier Access.
As reported by Torrent Freak, Black Widow was the most pirated film last week, which once again severely affected the revenue it brought in. Despite the hurdles, the Scarlett Johansson standalone film managed to break many pandemic box-office records and currently holds sixth place in the list of highest-grossing films of 2021. The MCU film has grossed over $132 million in the United States and Canada and brought in the same revenue in other territories, making its worldwide total stand at $264 million. If we actually compare Black Widow’s opening weekend earnings i.e., $80.4 million at the domestic box office vs Space Jam: A New Legacy’s estimated $32 million, it is easy to deduce the winner.
Black Widow marks the final outing of Scarlett Johansson as the Avenger Natasha Romanoff. Set between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Age of Ultron, the film chronicles Natasha’s battle against her own past and coming to terms with the constant guilt she has lived with for years. Apart from Johansson, the film stars Olga Kurylenko as Antonia Dreykov/Taskmaster, Florence Pugh as Yelena Belova, Rachel Weisz as Melina Vostokoff, David Harbour as Alexei Shostakov/Red Guardian, O-T Fagbenle as Rick Mason, William Hurt as Thaddeus Ross, Ray Winstone as Dreykov, and Julia Louis-Dreyfus as Valentina Allegra de Fontaine.