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Thread: Black Widow

  1. #16
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    Marvel Studios' Black Widow | Final Trailer

    Gene Ching
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  2. #17
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    "Marvel’s Black Widow will launch on May 1st in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic"

    I wouldn't bet on this right now. There's still plenty of time to push it back.

    ENTERTAINMENT
    ‘Black Widow’ isn’t delayed, but MCU Phase 4 could still be in trouble
    MCU Phase 4 Timeline
    By Chris Smith @chris_writes
    March 12th, 2020 at 3:19 PM



    Marvel’s Black Widow will launch on May 1st in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly because Disney can’t really afford to delay any of its movies and TV series. Postponing Black Widow might delay other shows since all the stories are connected.

    The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a limited TV series for Disney+, should follow in August, but the coronavirus outbreak already has had an impact on the show’s production.
    Similarly, other MCU Phase 4 TV series that are in production might be affected by delays caused by the new disease.
    Watching a brand new movie in cinemas might be a thing of the past until the coronavirus pandemic is under control, at least in those regions seeing a surge in daily infections. Sony is one of the tech giants that’s been among the first to withdraw from events that draw plenty of crowds, including MWC, PAX East, and GDC, to minimize COVID-19 transmission risks. Avoiding large gatherings of people is one of the things you can do to protect yourself against infection, and Sony is acutely aware of that. It’s also very aware that the coronavirus will have a significant impact on certain sectors of the economy and its bottom line, and the company is already taking measures to protect its business. The company delayed two movie releases, including the brand new James Bond as well as Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway. The delay of No Time to Die was particularly surprising, given that it’s one of the most highly anticipated films of the year.

    Not all studios can afford to do the same thing with their upcoming 2020 creations, and that includes Disney’s Marvel. Earlier this week, Marvel released the final trailer for Black Widow, reiterating plans to release the first MCU Phase 4 flick on May 1st, as previously announced. Unlike Sony, which might have plenty of wiggle room with its movie releases, Disney might be forced to go forward with Marvel movies regardless of any potential financial hit.

    As I explained before, Disney has no choice but to launch Black Widow on schedule, and the same goes for The Eternals in November. That’s because the films are just two titles of the 14 MCU Phase 4 stories scheduled to be released in 2020 and 2021, of which two more are supposed to launch on Disney+ later this year.
    Black Widow will be followed by The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in August, with WandaVision set to start streaming at some point this winter after Eternals hits theaters. All these stories are intertwined, and Marvel has to release them in order. Events from Black Widow might ripple through Falcon as well as other films and TV series. That same goes for each title that follows the standalone Black Widow film.

    Black Widow would easily conquer the box office during its launch weekend, but the coronavirus might hurt its overall take. Even so, the film is tracking for a huge opening weekend — $90 to $130 million, an estimate says. Things could change down the road but no matter what happens, Black Widow will surely open on May 1st.
    That said, the coronavirus might still ruin the MCU going forward, and I’m not even referring to Disney’s bottom line. Plenty of the upcoming MCU Phase 4 films are in pre-production or shooting right now, and the pandemic might significantly affect some or all of them. One such example is The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. Disney has just halted shooting in Prague over coronavirus fears, as Deadline reported:

    The show has been shooting for months in Atlanta, but they began a short shoot in Prague last Friday that was to be completed in about a week. Today, the studio shut down the production and called everybody home to Atlanta. No word at the moment whether the show will return to Prague, but it seems unlikely.

    The same might happen with other TV series that are in the works, especially if they’re shooting in places where local governments have started enforcing stricter rules and restrictions. Any such delays might force Disney to delay the actual launch of the Marvel series on Disney+.


    Image Source: YouTube

    Not to mention that there’s always the chance that some of the stars involved in these huge Marvel projects, as well as the crew working on them, could get infected. Anyone testing positive for COVID-19 will have to be quarantined in a hospital until they recover.

    If that’s not enough, there’s even a rumor going around that The Falcon and the Winter Soldier plot would have featured a pandemic threat. That’s something Disney has removed from the script over the actual novel coronavirus outbreak, which has just been declared a pandemic — from MurphysMultiverse’s report from a few weeks ago:
    By the time The Falcon and The Winter Soldier streams in August, it is likely that the disease will have met the criterion to be considered a true pandemic (the last global pandemic was the H1N1 virus which killed as few as 151,000 and as many as 575,000 people worldwide, according to the CDC). From what I’ve been hearing, Disney may be proactively trying to get ahead of what could be a potential disaster for the studio by rewriting and, as a result, reshooting parts of the series, with a heavy emphasis on the season’s first couple of episodes.
    Given all the significant connections between all these movies, and considering Black Widow is already locked, there may be elements in The Falcon and the Winter Soldier script that can’t be altered too much. But it’s absolutely clear that the coronavirus will have an impact on this Disney+ original show, and the pandemic might similarly affect other Phase 4 TV series set to start streaming next year.

    Aside from the two TV series scheduled to hit the streaming service in 2020, eight other MCU Phase 4 shows should launch on Disney+ next year, starting with Loki in early 2021. And if Black Widow does get delayed, we might see all other Phase 4 pushed back accordingly.



    Chris Smith started writing about gadgets as a hobby, and before he knew it he was sharing his views on tech stuff with readers around the world. Whenever he's not writing about gadgets he miserably fails to stay away from them, although he desperately tries. But that's not necessarily a bad thing.
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  3. #18
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    When covid subsides, there's going to be a ton of good films to catch up on.

    BOX OFFICE MARCH 17, 2020 10:07AM PT
    ‘Black Widow’ Release Pulled Amid Coronavirus Pandemic
    By REBECCA RUBIN
    News Editor, Online
    @https://twitter.com/rebeccaarubin


    CREDIT: COURTESY OF MARVEL

    Disney’s “Black Widow” is the latest tentpole to shift its release date because of the coronavirus pandemic.

    The Marvel superhero adventure, starring Scarlett Johansson, was slated to hit theaters May 1. The studio also pulled “The Personal History of David Copperfield,” the Dev Patel-led drama from its Searchlight banner, and Amy Adams’ “The Woman in the Window,” a 20th Century title, which were supposed to debut May 8 and April 15, respectively. It’s unclear when any of the films will be released.

    Disney has already delayed “Mulan,” “The New Mutunts” and “Antlers,” but held off on postponing “Black Widow” in hopes that it wouldn’t have to scrap another big film. But the move was inevitable since movie theaters in multiple states, including New York, New Jersey Ohio, Pennsylvania and Washington, have been ordered to close. Only AMC Theatres has given a timeline on how long its locations might be closed, estimating six to 12 weeks for venues nationwide.

    Multiple studios have pulled movies in wake of coronavirus, including Universal’s “Fast & Furious “entry “F9,” MGM’s James Bond installment “No Time to Die” and Paramount’s “A Quiet Place 2.”

    Theaters across North America aren’t entirely shuttered yet, but exhibitors expect that could happen soon. Multiplexes in China, Japan, Italy and other areas greatly impacted by the novel virus have seen mass closures, resulting in billions of dollars in lost revenues. On Sunday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended that public gatherings involving more than 50 people be called off for the next eight weeks.

    While an exact budget for “Black Widow” has not been revealed, Marvel movies typically cost somewhere in between $150 million and $200 million. In addition to Johansson, “Black Widow” also stars Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T ***benle, William Hurt, Ray Winstone, and Rachel Weisz. It was directed by Cate Shortland, and follows Johansson’s Natasha Romanoff in the events after “Captain America: Civil War.”
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  4. #19
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    More postponements


    BY KYLIE HEMMERT ON SEPTEMBER 23, 2020

    Black Widow Release Date Pushed Along With Eternals, Shang-Chi & More!



    Walt Disney Studios has announced new release schedules for a number of movies, including Black Widow, previously dated for November 6, 2020, and now moving to May 7, 2021, and Eternals, previously dated on February 12, 2021, and now scheduled to release on November 5, 2021.

    Death on the Nile has shifted to December 18, 2020, moving back from its October 23, 2020 release. The Empty Man has moved up to the October 23, 2020 release from its December 4, 2020 slot, and Shang Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings will now release on July 9, 2021, from its original release date of May 7, 2021. An Untitled Disney Event Film that was previously dated for July 9, 2021 has been removed from the schedule.

    Additionally, Deep Water will now release on August 13, 2021, moving back from its November 13, 2020 release date, with West Side Story moving back to December 10, 2021, from its previous release date of December 18, 2020. The King’s Man will now premiere on February 12, 2021, moving up from its February 26, 2021 release date. An Untitled 20th Century film previously dated on August 13, 2021 has been removed from the schedule.

    Eternals will now open against Paramount Pictures’ Clifford the Big Red Dog, Warner Bros.’ Elvis, and Sony’s untitled Spider-Man: Far From Home sequel. Death on the Nile will open against Paramount’s Coming 2 America and Warner Bros. Dune, while Shang Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings will now open against Universal’s The Forever Purge. The King’s Man will open against Universal’s Marry Me and Paramount PIctures The United States vs. Billie Holiday.

    Scarlett Johansson returns as Natasha Romanoff, a spy and assassin who grew up being trained by the KGB before breaking from their grasp and becoming an agent of SHIELD and an Avenger. The film is expected to be set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, but before Avengers: Infinity War.

    Black Widow will also feature a star-studded cast including Golden Globe nominee David Harbour (Stranger Things, Hellboy) as Alexei aka The Red Guardian, Florence Pugh (Fighting with My Family) as Yelena Belova, Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz (The Favourite) as Melina and O-T ***benle (The Handmaid’s Tale) as Mason. The movie was directed by Cate Shortland (Lore) from a script written by Jac Schaeffer (The Hustle).
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  5. #20
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    Covid kills movie theaters

    ENTERTAINMENT MOVIES
    DUNE, NO TIME TO DIE AND BLACK WIDOW ARE ALL DELAYED UNTIL 2021. HERE’S WHAT THAT MEANS FOR THE FUTURE OF MOVIES
    Dune, No Time to Die and Black Widow Are All Delayed Until 2021. Here’s What That Means for the Future of Movies

    Timothée Chalamet in Warner Bros.' now delayed sci-fi epic 'Dune' Warner Bros.
    BY ELIANA DOCKTERMAN
    OCTOBER 6, 2020 12:35 PM EDT
    Movie theaters are in trouble.

    It’s been a lackluster year at cinemas, to say the least. Movie theaters have sat empty during spikes in the COVID-19 pandemic. Movie houses in the two biggest markets in the U.S., New York City and Los Angeles, remain closed as those cities fight to keep infection numbers under control. Over the summer, Hollywood looked to Christopher Nolan’s highly-anticipated Tenet as a savior of the moviegoing experience, but when the film finally premiered after numerous delays, it trickled out to little fanfare. (It has managed to bring in $300 million, mostly from overseas, though that box office total falls far short of the rest of Nolan’s films.) Still, theater owners have been pinning their hopes on a resurgence in moviegoing this fall.

    But in the last two weeks, as case numbers have risen across the U.S. and it has become increasingly apparent that people simply do not feel safe going to the movies, studios have begun to push the last of their 2020 films to 2021, dashing those hopes. On Monday, Cineworld—which owns Regal Cinemas, the second largest theater chain in the U.S.—announced that all of its 663 cinemas in the U.S. and Britain would close temporarily, affecting around 40,000 employees. AMC, the largest theater chain in the States, will stay open, though the company’s stock fell 10% following its rival’s statement on Monday.

    Mooky Greidinger, the CEO of Cineworld, said on Sky News, “It’s the wrong decision from the studios to move the movies to next year,” and exhibitioners have squarely laid the blame on the producers of the latest Bond film, No Time to Die. Back in March, the film’s producers were among the first to anticipate that the spread of the coronavirus would wreak havoc on theaters and delayed the release of the Daniel Craig movie from April until November. On Friday, No Time to Die abruptly shifted dates again to April 2, 2021. “This isn’t the right time,” Craig said in an interview with Jimmy Fallon on Monday. He even cast doubt on the ability of movie theaters to reopen in the spring. “Fingers crossed April 2 is going to be our date.” Cineworld employees say that No Time to Die’s date shift is what compelled the theater chain to close.

    But studios can hardly be blamed for a logical business move—not to mention a wise public health decision. The few movies that have released in theaters across the world this summer, including Tenet, Mulan and X-Men: New Mutants, have not performed well. Health experts have warned for the last several months that sitting inside with strangers for prolonged periods of time—even at a distance—is unsafe, especially if ventilation is poor and those strangers are taking off their masks to eat popcorn and sip soda. “It’s just about the last thing I’d do right now,” one epidemiologist told The A.V. Club. For many would-be moviegoers, the risk is too high.

    And so studios, unwilling to take huge financial hits on films that might succeed in theaters in the future, are bumping their slates. Bond moved. Disney delayed Black Widow from May 2020 until November 2020, and now has pushed the film’s premiere again until May 7, 2021. Dune, originally set for December 2020, will move to Oct. 1, 2021. There are still a few holiday movie holdouts, including Disney and Pixar’s Soul and Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman 1984, but it’s likely those movies will move as well.

    Regal, which like AMC has billions of dollars of debt, is left with little recourse. Smaller theaters face even grimmer prospects. Meanwhile, streamers like Netflix are offering thousands of hours of content to consumers at home, competition which terrifies an industry dependent on fans packing theaters. Here’s what all these delays mean for the future of your favorite franchises and the fate of the moviegoing experience.

    Could any of the delayed movies still end up on streaming or VOD this year?

    Studios, especially those with their own affiliated streaming services, could send some fare straight to streaming this year. WarnerMedia, for instance, owns both Warner Bros. and HBO Max. So it makes perfect sense that Warner Bros. has decided to release its Anne Hathaway movie The Witches, based on the Roald Dahl children’s book of the same name, straight to HBO Max rather than debut it in theaters. That movie, directed by Robert Zemeckis (Forrest Gump, Cast Away), is one of the larger offerings, along with Mulan, to pivot to streaming this year.

    Similarly, Disney could send a movie like Pixar’s Soul, which is currently still slated for Nov. 20, 2020, to Disney+. Disney would likely charge viewers an extra fee on top of the Disney+ subscription for a period of time, as they did when Mulan debuted on the service.

    Other studios that don’t have an obvious outlet for their films would have to cut a deal with a streaming service. MGM, which produces the Bond films, has no streaming service, and while they cut a deal with Universal for the international streaming rights for Bond, Universal’s only streaming outlet is the newly-launched Peacock, which hasn’t built up an adequate enough subscriber base to attract audiences to a big release like the latest 007 movie.

    And regardless, don’t expect movies like No Time to Die or Wonder Woman 1984 to ever go straight to VOD. Studio executives believe those films are dependent on the immersive, cinematic experience and lose much of their power when watched for the first time at home, possibly even on a phone. What’s more, action movies cost hundreds of millions of dollars to produce, and it’s not clear whether studios can turn a large profit or even recoup their costs when they send these films straight to streaming.

    There’s mixed evidence that big-budget movies can succeed financially on streaming. If Netflix’s self-reported numbers are to be believed, some of its splashy superhero movies, like The Old Guard starring Charlize Theron, are massive hits: Netflix reported that movie was watched by 72 million households in the first month of its release. Netflix depends on subscriptions, not streaming purchases, so it’s hard to say directly how much money Netflix made from The Old Guard. Disney offers a less optimistic data point: Mulan made $33.5 million in its opening weekend from Disney+ subscribers. That’s a lot of money for a streaming movie. But Mulan, which was also saddled with controversy, likely cost over $200 million to make, and scored a lackluster opening weekend overseas: It was one of Disney’s worst-performing remakes at the Chinese box office.

    What does it all mean for 2021 at the movies?

    Right now, 2021 is looking very crowded. Studios have shifted many of their most anticipated films from 2020 to 2021, including Black Widow, Dune, The Eternals, Fast & Furious 9, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, In the Heights, Morbius, No Time to Die, A Quiet Place Part II, Top Gun: Maverick, West Side Story and many more. There are only so many weekends per year, and it’s not like theaters will magically reopen their doors on Jan. 1. So in order to make room for all the 2020 movies, studios will be forced to either compete with one another for dwindling box office returns on the same weekend or bump some of their 2021 movies to 2022.

    Those dominos have already begun to fall. Dune moved to the 2021 weekend that was already occupied by the Robert Pattinson starrer The Batman, and the latest caped crusader reboot shifted to March 4, 2022. The long-awaited Avatar sequel moved from December 2021 to December 2022 in order to make room for one of Disney’s other movies, the third Tom Holland Spider-Man flick. Halloween Ends has shifted from October 2021 to October 2022. Matrix 4 is a unique case, as its release was actually moved up from April 2022 to December 22, 2021. DC movie The Flash was pushed from June 3, 2022 to November 4, 2022, and Shazam 2 has moved from that November 2022 slot to June 2, 2023. The untitled Indiana Jones movie we were supposed to get next summer won’t debut until July 2022. And Black Adam and Minecraft have been taken off the schedule entirely.

    Things may yet shift again if there is no widespread distribution of a vaccine by spring 2021. But studios are incentivized to hold out for the theatrical release of their movies. A few films have cut their losses and headed straight to VOD, like Trolls World Tour. That children’s movie made nearly $100 million in the first week of rentals, more than the previous Trolls film had made in that time in theaters. But franchises like Marvel and Fast & Furious expect to make billions, not millions, in theaters: Furious 7 grossed $1.5 billion globally, and Captain Marvel raked in $1.13 billion.

    Many filmmakers, too, fervently believe in the theatrical experience and want to do their part to keep those communal gathering spots in business. When director John Krasinski announced that A Quiet Place II would shift its release date, he wrote on Instagram, “One of the things I’m most proud of is that people have said our movie is one you have to see all together….As insanely excited as we are for all of you to see this movie…I’m gonna wait to release the film til we CAN all see it together! So here’s to our group movie date!”
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  6. #21
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    continued from previous post

    What does this mean for Marvel, DC, and other superhero franchises?

    Gal Gadot as Diana in Wonder Woman 1984 Clay Enos—Warner Bros. & DC Comics

    The state of superhero movies is a little more complicated. The genius of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, up until this point, has been how all the movies are connected to one another. The post-credits scene from, say, a Captain America movie, will set up Black Panther: the Black Panther post-credits scene previews the next Avengers installment, and so on. In order to get the full story, you need to watch all 23 MCU movies.

    Unfortunately, that means Disney doesn’t have much flexibility when it comes to releasing the superhero movies it currently has in the can. In all likelihood, the plot of Black Widow somehow ties in to future movies like Eternals or even Disney+ MCU TV series like Falcon and the Winter Soldier. If Disney were to release any of the movies or shows out of order, it would spoil the entire story. Delays for Black Widow and The Eternals mean that Doctor Strange: Multiverse of Madness, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Spider-Man 3 will inevitably need to be pushed back as well. That delay also means we likely won’t get to see the X-Men or Fantastic Four characters—whom Marvel Studios acquired when Disney bought 20th Century Fox last year—in any MCU movie for a long time.

    The other studios are a little less dependent on a strict schedule: Warner Bros. has established that Wonder Woman 1984 does not exist in the same universe as The Joker and is only tangentially related to the Harley Quinn movie that premiered earlier this year. Nor does she have anything to do with the Batman movie or the Suicide Squad reboot that are both currently filming. So Warner Bros. can release those movies whenever the studio feels they will be able to turn a profit.

    What does this mean for movie theaters and the moviegoing experience?

    Tenet was supposed to save the movies. It didn’t. No one movie ever could have. It’s made just $45 million domestically. This past weekend, Hocus Pocus, the Bette Midler Halloween film about witches that debuted 27 years ago, beat it at the box office.

    It’s unclear when people will want to go to movie theaters again. Only 17% of Americans feel comfortable attending the movies, according to a mid-August Morning Consult poll. Some health experts have called the movie theater experience during COVID-19 “Russian roulette,” pointing out that theaters make most of their money from concession, but people necessarily have to take off their masks to eat popcorn and slurp their soda. As the weather gets colder and people spend more time indoors in general, experts say we’re likely to see another wave of the virus. If people aren’t willing to attend the movies now, it’s unlikely they’ll be eager to catch the latest flick in the dead of winter if we’re seeing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

    That leaves cinemas in a precarious position, to say nothing of indies and arthouse theaters. Even once there is a vaccine, it’s unclear how long it will take theatergoers to venture out of their homes again: streaming services like Netflix threaten studios’ profits by offering alternative entertainment at home. Cinephiles fear that watching movies at home will become the norm.

    What does this mean for streaming services?

    One thing is certain: streaming is having a banner year. Disney+ and Apple TV+ both launched last fall, and HBO Max and Peacock joined the streaming arms’ race this year. As a result, audiences have more content than ever to choose from at home. This fall is no exception: Amazon Prime has scooped up several Oscar hopefuls, including Steve McQueen’s anthology of films titled Small Axe, Regina King’s directorial feature debut One Night in Miami. Apple TV+ will debut Sofia Coppola’s On the Rocks with Bill Murray and Rashida Jones as well as one of this year’s most raved-about animated films, Wolfwalkers. Disney+’s biggest releases will be television series, namely the second season of The Mandalorian and the MCU series WandaVision.

    But all those new services are just playing catchup to Netflix. Netflix has had more time to build up a massive library, and had already filmed most of its 2020 content before the virus hit and thus had to delay few releases. In Q2 of 2020, Netflix generated $6.14 billion in revenue, up from $4.9 billion at the same time last year. And Netflix has begun to experiment with bigger-budget productions made just for the small screen. Recent hits like The Old Guard, Spenser Confidential and Enola Holmes have proven, at least according to Netflix’s own analysis, that mid- to big-budget movies can succeed on streaming. Netflix releases a buzzy new movie or show every week—if not more often. In the coming months, they’ll release the Adam Sandler comedy Hubie Halloween, Aaron Sorkin’s Oscar hopeful Trial of the Chicago 7 and David Fincher’s latest, Mank.

    Streaming probably won’t supplant moviegoing. The movie date will always have a place in American culture. But the pandemic has, for now, accelerated the trend towards watching more content at home—and the timing of the movie date’s return is as uncertain as ever.
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  7. #22
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    Will we have a Summer rush this year?

    Feb 12, 2021 6:36am PT
    ‘Black Widow’ vs. ‘F9’: Which Summer Blockbuster Will Blink First?


    By Rebecca Rubin


    Courtesy of Marvel
    Disney’s “Black Widow” and Universal’s “F9” are poised to kick off summer moviegoing season. Yet it’s unlikely either blockbuster will actually arrive on schedule.

    While neither film has been postponed, industry experts and insiders have been speculating that Hollywood’s next round of release date delays will begin to impact the middle of 2021.

    At this point, it’s almost expected that movies due out in the first half of the year will be moved yet again. With coronavirus cases rampant and the vaccine rollout going more slowly than many hoped, studios and by extension, cinema operators, are essentially in the same situation they were 10 months ago: audiences aren’t going to the movies.

    Even with President Joe Biden’s recent announcement that the U.S. will be able to vaccinate 300 million people by July, it’s still too soon to tell how quickly Americans will be able to resume everyday activities.

    In the interim, however, ticket sales aren’t doing much to encourage studios. With 60% of U.S. theaters closed, the top 10 movies combined have brought in between $7 million to $12 million each weekend, according to Box Office Mojo. Compounding matters, conversations around reopening theaters in major markets like New York and Los Angeles have seemingly come to a standstill, and Hollywood players have been pretty clear that they don’t intend to open a buzzy tentpole without theaters on the coasts welcoming patrons.

    After MGM announced in January that “No Time to Die,” Daniel Craig’s final outing as James Bond, will no longer hit theaters in April (it’s now slated for Oct. 8), it set off a small ripple. Universal pushed the Bob Odenkirk thriller “Nobody” to April, Paramount bounced “A Quiet Place Part II” to September and Sony bumped “Ghostbusters: Afterlife and “Cinderella” to November and July, respectively. (Meanwhile Warner Bros., seemingly operating in another universe due to its hybrid HBO Max agreement, moved “Godzilla vs. Kong” up two months from May to March).

    Yet the two biggest movies positioned to open in the next few months, Scarlett Johansson-led Marvel adventure “Black Widow” (set for May 7) and “Fast and Furious” sequel “F9” (set for May 28), have not wavered. And it’s not because their respective studios are optimistic that they’ll be able to open them in theaters as planned. The decision isn’t if these titles should move, it’s more likely a matter of assessing where to move them.

    However, it’s an especially significant decision because postponing “Black Widow” and “F9” signals to the rest of the film industry that moviegoing may be absent another summer season.

    There have been frequent rumors that “Black Widow” may keep its May release date and take a route similar to “Raya and the Last Dragon,” meaning it would premiere simultaneously in theaters and on Disney Plus for a premium price. On Disney’s quarterly earnings call on Thursday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek debunked that theory and stressed that the studio is “still intending [‘Black Widow’] to be a theatrical release.”

    According to insiders, that’s partially because Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, the lead architect behind the meticulously constructed Marvel Cinematic Universe, was opposed to a hybrid rollout. Having produced many of the studio’s highest-grossing movies, including “Avengers: Infinity War” and “Avengers: Endgame,” Feige’s opinion certainly carries considerable weight at Disney. But that doesn’t mean the powers that be can’t eventually convince Feige to change his mind — or overrule him completely.

    Sources suggest Disney has three to four weeks before having to make a decision about “Black Widow” and Universal has slightly more time for “F9” because it’s not expected to debut until three weeks after the Marvel film. “Black Widow,” in particular, represents its own set of complications because of the interconnected nature of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which now spans both feature films meant for theatrical distribution, and limited and ongoing TV series created for Disney Plus. Bumping “Black Widow” means that “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” (July 9) and “Eternals” (Nov. 5) would almost certainly be shuffled around as well. It could also throw Marvel’s carefully planned roll-out of its Disney Plus shows into disarray as well — after “The Falcon and the Winter Solider” in March, at least four other titles are set to premiere on the streamer this year.

    Meanwhile, Universal plans to keep a traditional theatrical release for “F9” because “Fast & Furious” is among the studio’s most lucrative properties. Prior to the pandemic, the upcoming entry would have easily generated more than $1 billion worldwide. Under the current circumstances, getting ticket sales anywhere near that number would be a feat as unrealistic as any of the gravity-defying stunts performed in a “Fast” movie. Though Universal last year forged an agreement with major theater chains, including AMC and Cinemark, to put its movies on demand sooner than usual, even the most optimistic outcome would result in a money-losing proposition given the impaired theatrical marketplace. Too few countries have reopened movie theaters, and too few people are going in the areas where moviegoing has returned.

    For now, Universal is waiting to see how the box office recovers in China, where the “Fast” movies are enormously popular. Hinging upon Asian countries, “F9” could end up opening later in summer, possibly in July or August, or down the line in 2021. There’s even a world in which it is delayed another year.

    “Black Widow” and “F9” are no small propositions; they each carry nine-figure marketing campaigns on top of $200 million-plus production budgets. Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet,” which attempted to restart moviegoing last September and grossed $363 million globally, has fielded the strongest result yet for a coronavirus-era release. Months later, “Wonder Woman 1984” tapped out with a meager $154 million worldwide. If “Black Widow” and “F9” replicated those results, they would stand to lose millions upon millions.

    One positive: “Black Widow” and “F9” both benefit from brand awareness, meaning the general public is already familiar with these franchises. Their respective studios don’t need to reintroduce the characters to audiences the same way they would have to with an original property. And, unlike James Bond, who has lucrative partnerships with Heineken and Audi, among others, neither “Fast” nor “Black Widow” have significant consumer product tie-ins, which makes it easier and less costly for them to pick up and move to a new date.

    The eventual retreat of “Black Widow” and “F9” may have serious implications for the movie business. Several titles, including Ryan Reynolds’ sci-fi adventure “Free Guy” (May 21), Paramount’s “Infinite” starring Mark Wahlberg (May 28), Sony’s “Venom” sequel (June 25) and “Top Gun: Maverick” (July 2), remain on the calendar. But plans could be amended should “Black Widow” and “F9” wave the white flag on summer.

    What’s tricky is the back half of the year has become so stacked, there’s hardly any room to slot in new titles without pushing others back. Starting in fall, blockbuster-hopefuls are scheduled nearly every single week: “A Quiet Place” (Sept. 17), “Many Saints of Newark” (Sept. 24), “Dune” (Oct. 1), “Halloween Kills” (Oct. 15), “Eternals” (Nov. 5), “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” (Nov. 11), “Mission: Impossible” (Nov. 19), “West Side Story” (Dec. 10) and “The Matrix 4” (Dec. 22).

    At a closer glance, it appears that nobody told the holiday season that there’s still a pandemic raging.
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  8. #23
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    July 9 & Sep 3

    Mar 23, 2021 11:30am PT
    ‘Black Widow,’ ‘Cruella’ to Debut on Disney Plus and in Theaters as Disney Shifts Dates for Seven Films


    By Rebecca Rubin

    Black Widow Trailer
    Courtesy of Marvel
    As moviegoing slowly begins to rebound in the U.S., it appears Hollywood studios aren’t yet ready to release their biggest blockbuster hopefuls on the big screen.

    All that is to say Disney has massively overhauled its upcoming slate and amended release plans for “Black Widow,” Emma Stone’s “Cruella,” “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” Pixar’s “Luca” and several others.

    Notably, “Black Widow” and “Cruella” will now premiere on Disney Plus at the same time they open in theaters. “Cruella” is arriving as scheduled on May 28, while “Black Widow” has been pushed back two months and will debut on July 9 instead of May 7. Both titles will be offered on Premier Access, which comes with a $30 rental fee.

    “Black Widow’s” move means that Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which was previously set for early July, was bumped back to Sept. 3. It’s expected to have a traditional theatrical release.

    Meanwhile, Pixar’s animated coming-of-age adventure “Luca” won’t play in theaters and instead is launching exclusively on Disney Plus, at no extra cost, on June 18.

    Despite the massive refocus on streaming, Disney doesn’t plan to entirely ditch theaters. Numerous smaller titles, mostly those inherited from 20th Century, have been postponed but will bow solely on the big screen, including “Free Guy” (Aug. 13), “The King’s Man”(Dec. 22), “Deep Water” (Jan. 14, 2022) and “Death on the Nile” (Feb. 11, 2022).

    Kareem Daniel, the chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment distribution, says the announcement “reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences.”

    “By leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic, we will continue to employ the best options to deliver The Walt Disney Company’s unparalleled storytelling to fans and families around the world,” he said.

    Earlier in the pandemic, Disney’s “Mulan” remake skipped theaters and launched on Disney Plus for a premium fee. Disney hasn’t released viewership numbers on any streaming offerings, but the company’s CEO Bob Chapek has hinted that the studio will continue to experiment with release plans as the global theatrical market remains impaired. The announcement comes days after Disney touted record (though entirely vague) viewership for the Marvel Studios TV series “Falcon and the Winter Soldier” on Disney Plus.

    Among film exhibitors and some studio executives, optimism has been mounting in recent weeks as movie theaters in Los Angeles and New York City have started to reopen. However, capacity is being capped 25% (or 100 people per auditorium in L.A. and 50 per auditorium in NYC). That’s notably restricted ticket sales, making it virtually impossible for big-budgeted films to turn a profit in theaters alone. Marvel films, for one, regularly cost over $200 million to produce.

    Disney has postponed much of its slate, including several Marvel titles, numerous times amid the pandemic. The studio has been able to witness firsthand how the U.S. market is recovering, as it recently released “Raya and the Last Dragon,” an animated adventure geared toward family audiences, in theaters and on Disney Plus for a premium fee. The film has made $23.4 million in the U.S. and $71 million globally, which is modest by pandemic standards. But it would be financially detrimental for “Black Widow,” “Shang-Chi” or any other tentpoles to replicated those results.

    Still, Hollywood studios aren’t betting against the summer movie season entirely. Disney and rivals are hoping the general public will feel more comfortable returning to recreational activities, like going to the movies, as more and more people get the COVID-19 vaccine. To that end, Paramount has moved up the release of “A Quiet Place Part II” from September to May 28, while Universal marginally bumped “F9” from May to June 25.

    “Black Widow” stars Scarlett Johansson and takes place after the events of 2016’s “Captain America: Civil War.” It was originally slated for May 2020 but was delayed three times amid the pandemic. As Black Widow, aka Natasha Romanoff, finds herself alone, she is forced to confront a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her former life as a spy, long before she became an Avenger. Cate Shortland directed the film, the 24th installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Florence Pugh and David Harbour round out the cast.

    “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” puts the spotlight on Simu Liu as the eponymous superhero, who grapples with his past after he is drawn into the Ten Rings organization. The movie, which has also been bounced back a few times in the past year, features Awkwafina, Tony Leung, Ronny Chieng and Michelle Yeoh.

    In the last 12 months, studios have made some bold moves to compensate for the near closure of indoor movie theaters. Perhaps the most notable has been the sledgehammer that was taken to the theatrical window, which is the industry term for the amount of time that new movies play exclusively in theaters. It was traditionally about 90 days, and cinema chains had long resisted studio’s attempts to shorten that timeframe.

    But the pandemic has accelerated those changes, with Warner Bros. releasing its entire 2021 theatrical slate on HBO Max on the same day the films launch in theaters. Starting next year, the studio will keep its movies in theaters for 45 days ahead of putting them on home entertainment. Paramount similarly plans to keep its new releases on the big screen for 45 days before moving them to the newly relaunched Paramount Plus streaming service. Meanwhile, Universal has forged its own model that enables the studio to offer its films on premium video-on-demand platforms after 17 days in theaters. In return, theater chains are getting a cut of the digital profits.

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  9. #24
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    Bw & prc

    Jul 9, 2021 4:35pm PT
    ‘Black Widow’s’ China Delay Rings Alarm Bells for Hollywood

    By Rebecca Davis


    Jay Maidment / Courtesy of Marvel Studios
    The U.S. film industry is heaving a sigh of relief that “Black Widow” is poised to become the highest grossing domestic debut of the post-pandemic era, marking America’s return to moviegoing in force.

    The Scarlett Johansson-starrer is projected to earn around $80 million in its North American opening weekend, beating out “F9” last month. It will also premiere in 46 overseas markets, bringing in an expected $50 million.

    China, however, isn’t on the roster.

    The picture for “Black Widow” is far from rosy in the world’s largest film market, where politics are proving once again to trump profit, and piracy may destroy its box office odds before it manages to reach Chinese shores.

    Although China’s censorship authorities approved “Black Widow” for release back in March, Marvel has yet to offer any indication of a release date for the key territory. (Hong Kong, meanwhile, was actually one of the first territories in the world to release it on July 7, thanks to its Asia time zone.)

    A belated China release could spell trouble. Disney Plus does not operate in China. When the streaming service released the film online for a $30 fee in other territories Friday, it unleashed an easily pirated, high-definition version of the film that reached Chinese consumers within hours.

    Popular on Variety
    “From today on, all kinds of pirated versions of ‘Black Widow’ will begin to spread rapidly,” one film blogger wrote in resignation. “Even if it is released theatrically later, this will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the box office.”

    As of Friday morning, Variety found scores of pirated videos and torrents already available on unauthorized Chinese file sharing and streaming sites, although their initial origins are unclear. On certain illegal sites powered by online gaming ads, many are available to stream for free without any registration or download procedures via a single click.

    Many pirated copies are listed as 1080p HD or 4K quality, or equipped with Dolby Atmos sound. Most come already outfitted with Chinese subtitles, which are often created by groups of fast-acting volunteers or fans before the official translation is released.

    On one of the major fan-generated subtitle websites, at least nine different versions of Chinese “Black Widow” subtitles were available on the front page alone. They can be downloaded separately to pair with different versions of the pirated film. The site declares that “subtitles are only used for language learning purposes; the copyright belongs to the film production.”

    The same piracy issue plagued Disney’s $200 million live-action “Mulan” in China, tanking hopes that the China-set retelling of a classic Chinese folk tale with an Asian cast would become a breakout hit there. It garnered a lackluster $23 million opening weekend and $41 million cume, albeit with significant capacity restrictions on cinemas due to COVID-19.

    Death Sentence for ‘Black Widow’ in China?
    From a purely economic point of view, China’s delay of surefire commercial hit “Black Widow” makes little sense, particularly since its box office has been on the downswing since June, when it hit a record monthly low.

    The country notched a number of box office records earlier this year off local holiday blockbuster hits, but rescheduled Hollywood tentpoles and a diminishing pool of moneymaking local productions have slowed business down. The film industry’s political obligations for July are slowing it further.

    Generally, Beijing tends to program Hollywood blockbusters sparingly in the key moviegoing month of July to carve out space for local productions. This year, its resistance to scheduling foreign films has been exacerbated by the critical 100th anniversary of the ruling Communist Party’s founding on July 1. The occasion has been accompanied by an ongoing, months-long period of militant censorship across all media that will last through the end of the month and likely into fall.

    With those factors in mind, local reports have long been predicting a death sentence for “Black Widow’s” China prospects.

    “The possibility of a simultaneous release is approaching zero. In this special [July] tribute month, even ‘main melody’ [propagandistic] movies like ‘Chinese Doctors’ are facing strict censorship, let alone Hollywood films,” a blogger wrote pessimistically in June.

    Beijing considers it politically paramount for the Party’s propaganda tribute films to reign over their competitors this month. Though the melodramatic titles were widely promoted, they have unsurprisingly not proved popular enough to drive Marvel-level ticket sales.

    China’s major July titles are the political history films “1921” and “The Pioneer,” which have grossed just $58 million (RMB376 million) and $15.4 million (RMB100 million) so far, respectively, since their July 1 debut. The most commercial blockbuster of the bunch is the Bona Film-backed pandemic blockbuster “Chinese Doctors.” It had a muted $14.4 million opening Friday, taking what would have been “Black Widow’s” slot had it opened day-and-date with the U.S. and emerging a poor substitute.

    Unverifiable local reports speculate the “Black Widow” may not release in China until mid-August, when there may be a sudden influx of Hollywood films that could end up cannibalizing each other’s box office.

    Disney did not respond to a request for comment on the movie’s release date circumstances or piracy concerns.

    Release Date Limbo
    The “Black Widow” situation highlights the growing challenges Hollywood is facing in the post-pandemic era, as Beijing and Washington view each other with growing suspicion and new digital distribution models upend decades-old practices.

    Increasingly, foreign films are finding themselves in release date limbo or unexpectedly pulled due to China’s ever-changing political winds and local programming priorities. (For instance, censors approved Pixar’s “Luca” in late May, but it has yet to set a debut.)

    When theatrical windows of at least three months were still observed, digital or Blu-ray releases did not heavily impact a film’s China box office, since imports are only allowed to play in Chinese theaters for one to two months anyway, no matter how successful.

    If Hollywood’s pandemic-era embrace of previously unthinkable modes of online distribution are here to stay, piracy will be a growing problem. It will become increasingly important for films seeking to guarantee the strongest possible China sales to release there before other territories or open simultaneously with their streaming debut.

    A growing number of tentpoles with guaranteed Chinese audiences have already taken this approach, such as “Avengers: Endgame,” which gave China a two-day head start on the U.S., or “F9,” which was prompted by the pandemic to premiere an unprecedented full month ahead of domestic.

    Locking in a China date has grown increasingly difficult as bureaucratic processes and priorities grow stricter and more opaque, meaning that companies may have to initiate censorship review processes even earlier.

    Warner Bros.’ “Dune” may avoid a “Black Widow”-esque conundrum. Had the film debuted Oct. 1 as originally planned, it would have run into China’s highly political National Day holiday that same day, when it would have been elbowed out of a day-and-date release and put off for perhaps the next two weeks in order to give new nationalistic blockbusters time to sell.

    Whether or not the decision to move it to Oct. 22 was intentionally made with the China market in mind, it bodes well.

    “Maintaining good relations to secure release dates, combatting piracy, and deploying strong tactics to shore up word of mouth will be the most critical tasks for Hollywood revenue-share films going forward, particularly for films planning to release simultaneous both in theaters and online,” a well-regarded local film industry outlet said. “Otherwise, more and more revenue-share films will repeat the mistakes of ‘Mulan’ and ‘Black Widow,’ bringing down Hollywood’s China profits.”
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  10. #25
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    Box office collapse

    Been wondering when this shoe might drop...

    Movie Theater Owners Blame Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’ Box Office ‘Collapse’ on Disney Plus Launch

    By Rebecca Rubin


    Courtesy of Marvel Studios
    Movie theater operators did not mince words in asserting that Disney left money on the table by putting Marvel’s “Black Widow” on Disney Plus on the same day as its theatrical debut.

    Disney announced in March that “Black Widow,” among several of its 2021 films, would premiere simultaneously on the studio’s subscription-based streaming service — for a premium $30 price — and on the big screen while the struggling movie theater industry regained its footing. On July 9, “Black Widow” opened to $80 million in the U.S. and Canada, setting a COVID-era box office record. Disney padded the film’s final weekend tally by reporting the Scarlett Johansson-led comic book adventure collected an additional $60 million worldwide on Disney Plus. That pushed its global haul past $200 million.

    Ten days after its domestic debut, the National Association of Theatre Owners, the industry’s main lobbying arm, released a fiery statement that takes aim at “Black Widow’s” rollout. For measure, NATO seemed to like “Black Widow,” calling it “such a well-made, well-received, highly anticipated movie.” Still, the group says the $200-million budgeted “Black Widow” underperformed at the box office and on Disney Plus.

    “Despite assertions that this pandemic-era improvised release strategy was a success for Disney and the simultaneous release model, it demonstrates that an exclusive theatrical release means more revenue for all stakeholders in every cycle of the movie’s life,” the statement said.

    Of course, cinema operators have a vested interest in preserving some sort of theatrical window. The pushback from NATO comes at a time when the movie business is still struggling to recover from the pandemic. Crippling efforts, film exhibitors say, is the fact that Hollywood studios are no longer putting their movies exclusively on the big screen. Prior to COVID, new releases had to play in theaters for at least 75 days before moving to premium video-on-demand. Now, that’s no longer the case. Many buzzy titles to premiere in the past 18 months, including “Wonder Woman 1984,” “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Cruella,” were also available concurrently on various streaming services. The two highest-grossing movies of the year, “A Quiet Place Part II” and “F9,” were initially only available to watch at multiplexes.

    Hollywood studios and movie theater operators have a historically contentious relationship, with the pandemic shifting the power overwhelmingly in favor of film distributors. Yes, studios need movie theaters to generate profits on mega-budgeted tentpoles, but COVID proved that without compelling content to show on the big screen, movie theaters don’t have as much to offer. The hot-and-cold factions recently got in a public spat when several theater chains, including AMC and Regal, threatened to boycott Universal’s movies after the studio flirted with the idea of day-and-date releases. They finally set aside that particular feud in the name of money. Theater owners were similarly miffed when Warner Bros. announced its entire 2021 film slate would premiere on HBO Max and in theaters on the same day.

    Without a hybrid release, NATO predicts that “Black Widow” would have secured a much larger opening weekend, somewhere north of $92 to $100 million. And while the film soared past the opening weekends of recent releases like “A Quiet Place 2” and “F9,” its ticket sales quickly dropped off. In its sop****re outing, “Black Widow” collected $26 million, a huge 69% decline. Or, as NATO put it, a “stunning second weekend collapse in theatrical revenues.”

    Disney declined to comment. However, insiders say the company is attempting to reach customers at every comfort level while the world emerges from COVID. It’s also worth noting the pandemic hasn’t entirely abated, and even vaccinated people have expressed hesitations about returning to the movies. Adding to anxieties, the highly contagious Delta variant has driven a spike in infections and forced Los Angeles, the largest moviegoing market in the country, to reinstate its mask mandate. Despite actor Vin Diesel’s loud proclamation, cinema isn’t entirely back just yet.

    In the case of “Black Widow,” NATO claims its financial upside isn’t as robust as some initially perceived. When it comes to box office grosses, studios have to split the profits 50-50 with movie theater owners. (Disney tends to get a more favorable split due to its box office dominance.) It gets an even larger chunk of change from digital transactions. However, NATO highlights, the studio doesn’t get to keep all of the money from online rentals. Approximately 15% of revenue goes to the various platforms, like Roku and Apple TV, through which consumers can access Disney Plus. Per NATO, early analysis of the film also failed to consider that its release on Disney Plus cuts into downstream revenues.

    “It ignores that Premier Access revenue is not new-found money, but was pulled forward from a more traditional PVOD window, which is no longer an option,” the statement reads. “Combined with the lost theatrical revenue and forgone traditional PVOD revenue, the answer to these questions will show that simultaneous release costs Disney money in revenue per viewer over the life of the film.”

    NATO adds, “Piracy no doubt further affected Black Widow’s performance, and will affect its future performance in international markets where it has yet to open.” According to the website TorrentFreak, “Black Widow” was the most pirated movie of the week. All the while, Disney Plus subscribers have the ability to share their password with other households, potentially limiting the number of individual transactions. NATO says Disney isn’t alone in these particular threats. It was also the case for other day-and-date releases, such as “Godzilla vs. Kong” and “Mortal Kombat,” two Warner Bros. titles that premiered on HBO Max. “How much money did everyone lose to simultaneous release piracy?” NATO asks. It’s one of many pressing inquiries that may remain unanswered.

    “The many questions raised by Disney’s limited release of streaming data opening weekend are being rapidly answered by ‘Black Widow’s’ disappointing and anomalous performance,” NATO said. “The most important answer is that simultaneous release is a pandemic-era artifact that should be left to history with the pandemic itself.”
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  11. #26
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    Didn't see that one coming...

    Last nail in the coffin for ScarJo as Natasha?

    Scarlett Johansson Sues Disney Over Black Widow
    Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson has sued Marvel parent company Disney for breach of contract regarding the film’s streaming release.

    By Alec Bojalad
    |
    July 29, 2021
    |

    Photo: Marvel
    And just like that the blockbuster streaming era got a lot more complicated.

    Black Widow star and longtime Marvel Cinematic Universe actress Scarlett Johansson filed a lawsuit against Disney on Thursday in Los Angeles Superior Court. The claim alleges that her contract was breached when Disney released Black Widow on Disney+ in addition to its theatrical release.

    According to Johansson’s representation, her contract guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release for Black Widow, which would be advantageous to the star given that she was set to receive a certain percentage of the film’s theatrical gross. The suit argues that by making the film available on Disney+, Disney was cutting her out of that opportunity.

    “Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel,” the suit reads, in part.

    Black Widow is the first Marvel film to receive a simultaneous streaming and theatrical release. The Natasha Romanoff-centered movie was first slated for a May 1, 2020 debut before being delayed to July 9, 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The film’s availability in two different mediums combined with lingering COVID-19 concerns in North America did seem to have an appreciable effect on its box office performance.

    While Black Widow opened to a pandemic era record $80 million during its first weekend of release, it quickly sank in its second, dropping a staggering 70%. As of now, it appears to be in line to match the grosses of early Marvel films like Captain America: The First Avenger and Thor rather than the studio’s more recent hits like Spider-Man: Far From Home.

    As far as streaming numbers go, most data is provided by the streamer or studios themselves and should therefore be taken with a grain of salt. But per Disney, the film earned around $60 million in Disney+ “Premier Access” purchases. If Johansson’s contract didn’t factor in streaming income, then that is indeed a big chunk of money to miss out on. In fact, a source close to Johansson reportedly told the Wall Street Journal that Disney’s decision to launch the film on streaming cost Johansson more than $50 million. The complaint indicates that Johansson’s representatives reached out to Disney to amend the contract after learning of the dual release strategy, but received no response.

    This lawsuit is the first bit of major litigation to arise from studio’s dipping their toes into the streaming waters but it almost certainly won’t be the last. The pandemic hastened a move to dual releases on streaming that was likely on its way anyway. Some studios, however, seem a bit better prepared than others. When WarnerMedia (at the time owned by AT&T, now on its way to combining with Discovery, Inc.) announced its intentions to release Warner Bros. entire 2021 slate of movies on streaming service HBO Max, they re-negotiated deals with its actors to cut them in on the new stream of income. Ultimately, WarnerMedia paid more than $200 million to talent as part of the new deals. While Disney didn’t endeavor to do the same is anyone’s guess.

    Currently Disney does not have plans to release future Marvel Phase 4 films on Disney+ at the same time as theatrical. September 3’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is slated for 45-day exclusive theatrical access. By the time Eternals rolls around on November 5, however, the Marvel Studios may have to face the decision to launch on Disney+ again if infection rates continue to rise.

    As for Scarlett Johansson’s relationship with the MCU – this is likely the bitter conclusion to it. The actress has been a major part of Marvel’s Avengers team since Iron Man 2 in 2010. Though Natasha Romanoff died in 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, the character was able to return just two films later as part of a prequel. The events of Disney+ series Loki also introduced the multiversal possibilities of Marvel character variants, so no actor is ever truly ruled out for a future film. Until now probably…depending on how the Mouse Empire feels about being sued.


    Written by

    Alec Bojalad | @alecbojalad

    TV Editor at Den of Geek and Television Critics Association member. Based in Cleveland, Ohio. Very upset about various sporting events.
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  12. #27
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    The MCU rules

    Sep 25, 2021 8:32am PT
    Box Office: ‘Shang-Chi’ Surpasses ‘Black Widow’ as Highest-Grossing Film of 2021

    New release 'Dear Evan Hansen' is expected to take the No. 2 spot with $7.3 million.

    By Ellise Shafer

    Courtesy of Marvel Studios
    It’s official: “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” has surpassed fellow Marvel film “Black Widow” as the highest-grossing film of 2021 — and the pandemic — at the domestic box office.

    On Friday, the superhero adventure starring Simu Liu captured $3.59 million from 3,952 theaters, which was enough to push it past “Black Widow” with a total gross of $186.7 million. “Black Widow,” which premiered in July, has earned roughly $183.5 million in theaters since its release. It has earned at least $125 million more on Disney Plus.

    “Shang-Chi” breaking this record is a significant landmark for the movie theater business, as it was released solely in theaters with 45 days of exclusivity — as opposed to “Black Widow” and many other new releases, which have opted for a hybrid model.

    This weekend, “Shang-Chi” is poised to top the domestic box office charts for the fourth weekend straight, adding an expected $12 million to $14 million to its haul. The film should end the weekend just shy of the $200 million mark.

    New release “Dear Evan Hansen” is expected to come in second place with a subdued $7.3 million from 3,364 theaters. The Universal Pictures movie musical, starring Ben Platt as an isolated teenage boy who struggles to belong in the age of social media, took in $3.2 million on Friday.

    Ryan Reynolds’ box office hit “Free Guy” is set to move down a spot to No. 3, but is still holding on with a three-day estimate of $4 million from 3,175 theaters. Meanwhile, slasher film “Candyman” and Clint Eastwood’s newest movie “Cry Macho” are poised to round out the box office chart in fourth and fifth place, respectively. “Candyman” should earn another $2.4 million this weekend for a cume of $56.79 million, and “Cry Macho” is expected to add $2 million for a total gross of $8.2 million.
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  13. #28
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    ScarJo wins

    See the post above.

    Disney & Scarlett Johansson Resolve Bitter ‘Black Widow’ Profits Lawsuit; Big $$$ Win For Oscar Nominee
    Dominic Patten 3 days ago

    UPDATED with more details: Just days after the first court hearing in Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow profits mega-bite lawsuit on Disney was pushed back to March 2022, the Oscar nominee and the House of Mouse have made peace — and it was pricey for the latter.

    “I am happy to have resolved our differences with Disney,” said Johansson in a statement released Thursday. “I’m incredibly proud of the work we’ve done together over the years and have greatly enjoyed my creative relationship with the team. I look forward to continuing our collaboration in years to come.”

    More from Deadline
    Hero Nation Podcast: 'Venom: Let There Be Carnage' Director Andy Serkis On Extending To MCU, Another Sequel & Ian Dury
    Disney Studios Basketball Feature 'Chang Can Dunk' Adds Chase Liefeld
    Second Disney Exec Lands At Airbnb; Imagineering's Bruce Vaughn To Lead Hosting Giant's "Experiential" Team
    Unlike in their vitriolic filings and their shaming PR statements over the past few, Marvel-owner Disney had nothing but love today for the actor who brought Natasha Romanoff to life for them in nearly 10 separate films.

    I’m very pleased that we have been able to come to a mutual agreement with Scarlett Johansson regarding Black Widow, said Alan Bergman, Chairman, Disney Studios Content. “We appreciate her contributions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and look forward to working together on a number of upcoming projects, including Disney’s Tower of Terror,” the exec added without any comment from Disney CEO Bob Chapek, as one would have expected.

    As is almost always the case in cases like this, neither side gave any indication of how much money was involved in the settlement. However, when all is said and done, the deal will run to more than $40 million, sources tell me. Accordingly, the funds will not be paid by Disney in a single lump sum, if you pick up the creative accounting I’m putting down.

    In case you forgot, Black Widow came out in cinemas across a Delta variant suffering America and on Disney+ for a premium fee on July 9

    With the Covid-19 pandemic, a shift to hybrid releases and the sentimentality free economics of back-end payouts at the heart of Johansson’s July 29 filed suit, the actor declared that she was promised “a release that is exclusive to movie theatres” on the much-delayed Cate Shortland-directed film and Disney broke its word.

    Then things got real messy.

    Disney incurred the wrath of many, including Johansson’s CAA main man Bryan Lourd, for not only telling the world that the actor got paid $20 million upfront for the film, but also tried to make their longtime collaborator look out and out cruel for standing up for herself. “The lawsuit is especially sad and distressing in its callous disregard for the horrific and prolonged global effects of the Covid-19 pandemic,” said a Disney spokesperson hours after Johansson’s suit became public.

    Then, as the toxic PR blast radius continued to spread, late on August 20, Disney’s outside counsel Daniel Petrocelli, Leah Godesky and Tim Heafner of O’Melveny & Myers LLP put the company’ response in the Los Angeles Superior Court docket.

    Seeking to enforce the “confidential, binding arbitration” aspects of Black Widow star and executive producer Johansson’s contract, the trio doubled down on the actor and her shingle. “In a futile effort to evade this unavoidable result (and generate publicity through a public filing), Periwinkle excluded Marvel as a party to this lawsuit––substituting instead its parent company Disney under contract-interference theories,” they said of the mega-star plaintiff. “But longstanding principles do not permit such gamesmanship.”

    Notwithstanding the hyperboles, the fact is Disney likely would have prevailed in getting the whole thing moved behind closed doors.

    In their August 20 throwback, they also contest that there was any cinema only clause in the contract and that Johansson had lost out of any cash because fans decided to watch the flick at home as opposed to the multiplex. “As of August 15, 2021, the Picture has grossed more than $367 million in worldwide box-office receipts and more than $125 million in streaming and download retail receipts,” Disney’s sharp elbowed filing of August 20 noted.

    Yet, also, with terms like “misogynistic attack” fired off by the actor’s lawyer main lawyer John Berlinski back at Disney and the revealing of Johansson’s Black Widow pay check by Disney in the days and hours following the filing of the explosive suit, both sides were clearly looking for a solution ASAP – especially as the Bob Chapek-led media giant faced the prospect of extensive discovery in the legal face-off.

    Amidst the claims of Tinseltown wags that there was a black cloud between the current CEO and his predecessor Bob Iger, as well as Marvel chief Kevin Feige, about how the Johansson matter was being so roughly handled in and out of the public eye, Chapek made a point of addressing the spider in the room on an August 12 earnings call.

    “Bob Iger and I, along with the distribution team, determined this was the right strategy to enable us to reach the broadest possible audience,” the new-ish CEO said, aware that both he and Iger’s financial windfall from the success of Disney+ was a big part of the initial Johansson lawsuit. Talking tough for the tough Wall Street crowd listening in, Chapek added: “Disney will always do “what we believe is in the best interest of the film and the best interest of our constituents.”

    Of course, as never one to withstand a less than sunny public face, Disney also moved fast to lock up other potential blow-outs with the likes of Cruella star Emma Stone. On August 13, it was announced Disney had struck a seemingly lucrative deal with the WME-repped Oscar winner to star in a sequel to the May 26 hybrid released movie.

    Which is, without a sequel, what Disney had essentially done now with Scarlett Johansson – the Black Widow who took on Goliath and won. A scent of where this was all going to end wafted by on September 21 when Chapek spoke to Goldman Sachs’ 30th annual Communacopia Conference

    “Right now we have this sort of middle position, where we’re trying to do right by the talent, I think the talent is trying to do right by us, and we’re just figuring out our way to bridge the gap,” the exec said of figuring out how to avoid dust-ups like the legal one with Johansson. “Ultimately we believe our talent is our most important asset, and we’ll continue to believe that, and as we always have, we’ll compensate them fairly per the terms of the contract that they agreed to us with.”

    But you also don’t want your marquee assets to depreciate either, on or off screen.

    For those who like to keep score, this is the another win for Kasowitz Benson Torres LLP’s Berlinski and his co-lead counsel Daniel Saunders over Petrocelli is just over as many years.

    Back in 2019, the two attorneys were pitted against each other in the four year battle by Bones executive producers and stars Emily Deschanel and David Boreanaz to get Fox and then Disney, after the then Iger-run company gobbled up most of the Murdoch’s Hollywood holdings, to come clean on some serious profit participation trickery. There were a lot of hard words back then and some slippery shifts by arbitrator and a judge, who rejected a ruling awarding $128 million in punitive damages to the plaintiffs. In the end, Berlinski and Saunders, along with a team from Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump & Aldisert, made the Bones EPs and actors some serious bones with a big pay-off and a dismissal of the case on September 11, 2019.

    It should also be noted that Black Widow for a time was the highest grossing movie of the pandemic at the domestic box office with $183.6M. The film was recently pushed to second by Disney/Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings which has now grossed over $200M.

    Worldwide Black Widow has made $378.8M.

    It’s believed by many in the industry that the film could have made more on a theatrical window instead of going day and date on Disney+ Premier where the streamers subscribers had to fork over $29.99 to watch the film. The movie saw one of the biggest drops for a Disney Marvel movie in its second weekend of -68%. The only extent that Disney reported in regards to how much Black Widow made on Disney+ Premier was $60M WW in the movie’s first weekend. No other updated details were provided by the studio, through Samba TV clocked 2M U.S. households that had tuned into the film over its first 10 days. Also eating into Black Widow’s theatrical day-and-date plan, and stealing money away from Disney was piracy: Industry sources tells us that Black Widow was illegally streamed over 20M times.

    Anthony D’Alessandro contributed to this report.
    Gene Ching
    Publisher www.KungFuMagazine.com
    Author of Shaolin Trips
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