Disney’s plans for “Black Widow,” the next theatrical release from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, have changed once again.
According to a report by IndieWire, Disney announced Tuesday the shifting of six theatrical release dates, including “Black Widow,” which will now hit theaters on July 9 instead of its previous date of May 7. This is the third time the MCU prequel has been moved, as it was originally intended to be released in May 2020 before the pandemic hit.
Starring Scarlett Johansson as Black Widow, the film has been long-awaited by those who wanted a solo movie for the character. According to The Verge, “Black Widow” is set between the events of “Captain America: Civil War” and “Avengers: Infinity War,” which explains why Black Widow, who sacrificed herself in “Avengers: Endgame” is able to appear in the movie. Florence Pugh and Rachel Weisz are set to enter the MCU for the first time and star alongside Johansson in the film.
A New Way to Watch ‘Black Widow’
In addition to moving the premiere of “Black Widow” back two months, Disney also announced that the Marvel feature would be available to stream on Disney Plus the same day it hits theaters. However, fans will need to purchase Premier Access to watch “Black Widow” on Disney Plus, according to Deadline, which will cost a one-time fee of $30.
The decision to make “Black Widow” and “Cruella” – another anticipated Disney prequel – available on Disney Plus with Premier Access the same day they hit theaters is the continuation of a response from movie studios to the pandemic. On March 5, Disney released “Raya and the Last Dragon” with the same theater-streaming strategy that they have announced for “Black Widow” and “Cruella.” According to a report by the New York Times, ticket sales for “Raya and the Last Dragon” in the United States and Canada totaled only $8.6 million. David A. Gross, who heads the movie consultancy Franchise Entertainment Research, told the New York Times he considered that a “soft” opening weekend for the film.
Warner Bros. had previously announced that its entire movie slate would be made immediately available on HBO Max the same day of their release for no additional charge. The oscar-nominated film “Judas and the Black Messiah” has already come to HBO Max, while the blockbuster “Godzilla vs. Kong” will come to the streaming platform at the end of the month.
Now, it seems Disney is testing a similar strategy with its own streaming platform for an additional fee.
‘Black Widow’ Is Not the Only MCU Movie Affected
Also included among the movies Disney is pushing back on the calendar was “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which was originally slotted for that July 9 date that “Black Widow” now occupies. Instead, Disney announced “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” will premiere in theaters on Sept. 3.
Starring Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, the movie will again bring the Ten Rings back into the fold. The Ten Rings is a terrorist organization that previously kidnapped Tony Stark and held him captive in a cave in “Iron Man.” They have been hinted at in various ways throughout the MCU’s run, but seem set to have a much more impactful presence in the forthcoming movie.
According to Deadline, here are the six Disney theatrical releases that were given new release dates on Tuesday:
- “Black Widow” moved to July 9, 2021 (Previous: May 7, 2021)
- “Free Guy” moved to Aug. 13, 2021 (Previous: May 21, 2021)
- “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” moved to Sept. 3, 2021 (Previous: July 9, 2021)
- “The King’s Man” moved to Dec. 22, 2021 (Previous: Aug. 20, 2021)
- “Deep Water” moved to Jan. 14, 2022 (Previous: Aug. 13, 2021)
- “Death on the Nile” moved to Feb. 11, 2022 (Sept. 17, 2021)