Black Widow Takes the Pandemic Box Office Lead

Black Widow takes the lead with opening weekend sales. Disney boasts Black Widow made $215 million worldwide. That’s with about $80 million domestic, $78 million international, and $60 million in Disney+ Premier Access sales. This is the first time Disney is including Premier Access numbers into box office numbers. Black Widow overtakes the previous post-pandemic champ, F9, with $70 million. Big box office showings are a great sign for the industry, but we learn a couple of interesting facts when we look closer.

Black Widow’s first couple of days were explosive, but come Saturday the sales shifted. The Premier Access sales picked up when the weekend kicked off and the theater sales cooled. According to Deadline, the viewer breakdown means the Marvel “fanboys” headed out right away while the “walk up” theater-goers are still staying home. For Disney, this might be even better news. Disney takes ~60% of sales in theaters but grabs the whole pie in Disney+ sales. Meaning a $30 Premier Access purchase is worth $60 at the box office.

Disney+ is very profitable but may lead to a major loss in the end. Black Widow is being delayed in China for political reasons. We won’t go into the details here. China has grown into Marvel’s biggest theatrical audience. And that audience will not wait. With the film being available on Disney+, pirates can create nearly flawless copies. 4K video and Dolby sound for a free copy of Black Widow. The day the film was released, it was already scattered on Chinese pirating sites, some offering on-platform streaming. By the time the film hits Chinese theaters, it will be old news. No doubt, Disney will not be happy with the mishandling of their big release.

Black Widow has proven more viewers are coming out to the theaters. The process of opening up is slow and careful, as it should be. This was my first theater visit in 15 months. I was both excited and a bit nervous. Luckily I went early in the morning, with only 7 people in the theater with me. As soon as I walked in, I was so delighted. The smell of over buttered popcorn, the chimes from the arcade, and the excited families rushing off to their new movie. I took my time coming back to theaters, but I’m so happy to be back!

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