When a solo Black Widow film was announced fans rejoiced saying it was long overdue. Fast forward a few years later, after a global pandemic, the launch of Disney Plus, and the demise of movie theaters, and Black Widow has still not come out. Warner Bros gambled with Wonder Woman 1984, after pushing that film back 4 times, before finally dropping it on HBO Max. The film performed miserably at the theaters that were still open around the world but got a million plus subscribers for HBO Max and became the most streamed film of 2020.
On the Disney front, the studio has and continues to release their films on the Disney Plus streaming service (charging an additional 30 dollars) but continue to hold back Black Widow for a theatrical release that keeps getting pushed further and further back. The film was originally set to be released on May 1st 2020. Its February 16th 2021 and we still are not any bit closer to being over the COVID scare or a theatrical release date.
“At this point, it’s almost expected that movies due out in the first half of the year will be moved yet again,” Variety reports, starting with Black Widow and Universal’s F9. Yet the decision to delay the former is made all the more difficult by Marvel’s meticulously plotted episodic storytelling. The studios’ Disney Plus series, WandaVision is already setting up plot threads that will spill over to future sequel films, Doctor Strange and Spider-Man 3. Luckily, Black Widow takes place between Captain America Civil War and Avengers Infinity War. However, for a film about a character we already know is dead (SPOILER ALERT) will another release delay have fans simply give up caring about it altogether?
That is what almost happened with Wonder Woman 1984. That film had a lot of hype around it that had been built up for a year and a half. By the time it finally came out, there was no way the film could ever live up to it.
There have been rumors that Marvel may opt to deliver Black Widow in both available movie theaters and through Disney+ Premier Access, similar to Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon. However, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said on the company’s Thursday earnings call that the film is “still intending to be a theatrical release.” Per Variety, Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige is not a fan of the hybrid release model for Marvel blockbusters.
There’s also the issue of the remaining MCU films on the schedule. Delaying Black Widow would likely once again result in additional delays for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (July 9) and Eternals (November 5).
“Marvel is facing a very difficult set of choices while it watches hundreds of millions of dollars of product sitting on a shelf and running the risk of audiences losing interest,” Phillips said. “It seems they will at some point be forced to either bite the bullet and release one of their big pictures on Disney+, or to start re-editing to shift points of connection. Or, they can just wait the whole thing out.”