Black Widow could be delayed again. Scarlett Johansson’s first Marvel Cinematic Universe solo outing was originally slated to be released May 2020, but was delayed because of the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. The film was intended to kick off the MCU’s Phase 4 in earnest, but that position ultimately went to Disney+ series WandaVision, which premiered earlier this month. Black Widow‘s release date is now May 7, which Marvel was hoping to stick with as recently as last week.
Black Widow was just one of the many films to be delayed in 2020, including Marvel’s entire slate and most of Disney’s other films. The studio pushed forward, releasing several of its movies on Disney+ including Pixar’s Onward, Mulan, and Soul. Previously, it was thought Black Widow wouldn’t release on Disney+, but a recent article offers some more information on the studio’s strategy for the film.
New information from Variety illustrates the disarray of the 2021 movie schedule. Many studios are staring down another set of delays, and that includes Disney. Black Widow is likely to be delayed again if the state of moviegoing doesn’t begin to improve in the coming months. A release on Disney+ would only be used as a last resort, with the studio remembering its record breaking 2019 box office gross of $11 billion.
However, Disney seems hesitant to put Black Widow on Disney+, and they have good reason to be. The Marvel films are among the studio’s most profitable and, even with a premium fee, it is unlikely Black Widow would make as much as if the film hit theaters. The studio finds itself in a precarious position, though. Now that WandaVision is released and with several more MCU shows on the way, Phase 4 is finally beginning to pick up. Though Black Widow is a prequel, if its plot plays massively into the Phase 4 storyline, the studio could find itself forced to release the film on Disney+ so as not to spoil any future plot points. Disney will likely try just about anything to avoid what is starting to look like an inevitability as the pandemic shows no signs of letting up.