Let’s be honest… it was only a matter of time. This morning, Disney confirmed the inevitable and announced that the next Marvel movie Black Widow will not be the cinema-only release that the company had been insisting was their preference, but will instead debut simultaneously on big-screen and Disney+.
Black Widow, directed by Cate Shortland and starring Scarlett Johansson in her first solo-outing as the Avenger, was one of the first movies to feel the effect of the covid pandemic with an announcement in March 2020, less than a month before its due date, that it was shifting out of the spring/summer season and would not hit cinemas until November 2020 (causing a cascade effect with other Marvel movies shifting away from their dates to accommodate). In September 2020, with no sign of an end to covid or a re-opening of multiplexes, Disney/Marvel shifted the release again, this time to 7th May 2021. Today’s statement sets the new co-release as 9th July, a ‘final’ backwards two months.
“Today’s announcement reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences,” Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney’s media and entertainment distribution division, said in a statement. With these moves, the company wanted to leverage “its flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic.”
Once again, the release-date change will have an affect on other Disney titles. Pixar’s Luca is now confirmed to be an exclusively Disney+ release for June 18. The long-marketed Ryan Reynolds comedy-actioner Free Guy moves from 21st May to 13th August, Marvel‘s martial-arts tentpole Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings shifts to 3rd September from 9th July and the latest chapter of the Kingsman franchise (based on the Mark Millar comic), a prequel called The King’s Man will land on Christmas week (22nd December) instead of 20th August.