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Disney Pushes Back ‘Black Widow’ Release Again Amid Low Movie Theater Turnout

Topline

 Marvel’s superhero film Black Widow was slated to be the next big movie release on the horizon in November, but parent company Disney announced Wednesday that it would pull the Scarlett Johansson-led flick and a handful of other titles and push them back as disappointing box office numbers continue amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Key Facts

Black Widow, the latest installment in the Marvel universe, is now scheduled for a May 2021 release, a full year after the movie was originally meant to premiere in theaters.

Along with Black Widow, Disney announced it would also delay the theater releases for Marvel releases Eternals and Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings until 2021, along with a Disney remake of the West Side Story musical directed by Steven Spielberg. 

With these postponements, 2020 will reportedly be the first year since 2009 that powerhouse Marvel will not release a film.

It follows the postponement of another long-anticipated superhero movie with a female lead, Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman 1984, which was pushed back from early October until Christmas Day.

The disappointing box office sales of Christopher Nolan’s Tenet in early September has reportedly put movie studios off releasing new blockbusters—despite its $200 million budget, Tenet only earned just above $20 million its opening weekend.

What To Watch For

With Black Widow postponed until 2021, moviegoers will set their sights on No Time To Die, the latest James Bond franchise film and biggest upcoming movie premiere, still slated for a November 20 release.

Key Background

Theaters across the country continue to gradually reopen—Variety reported roughly 70% of American cinemas have resumed operations—but moviegoers appear to still be hesitant about sitting in a room with strangers during the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, high-dollar coastal markets like New York City and Los Angeles have still not been given the green light for theaters to reopen, which hurts box office sales. Despite the bleak outlook, Disney has had some success with releasing new films on its streaming platform, Disney+. According to Bloomberg, CFO Christine McCarthy said the House of Mouse was “very pleased” with how the Mulan premiere performed on the platform earlier this month, although the company stayed mum on the specific numbers related to the release.

Further Reading

‘Black Widow,’ ‘West Side Story,’ ‘Eternals’ Postpone Release Dates (Variety)

The ‘Tenet’ Effect: ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ Premiere Delayed Amid Sluggish Box Office (Forbes)

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