Black Widow
Black Widow Image Credit: Marvel Studios

Following an uncharacteristic drop in box office revenue for ‘Black Widow’ in its second week, the US National Association of Theatre Owners is taking a stand against Disney’s simultaneous day-and-date theatrical and Disney Plus release plan.

NATO dropped a press release on Sunday asking why a much-anticipated and well-reviewed film like ‘Black Widow’ underperformed, leading to a first weekend Friday-to-Saturday collapse of 41 per cent, and a 67 per cent drop in weekend two?

The subsequent answer: Piracy, and Disney Plus at-home cannibalisation that impacts not just the box office but the pic’s subsequent home window as well.

NATO asserts that the Premiere Access revenue generated from the Disney Plus release is not “newfound money” but ws instead pulled from money that would have otherwise be spent on a “more traditional PVOD window, which is no longer an option.”

Black Widow trailer-1617518772250
Florence Pugh and Scarlett Johannson in 'Black Widow' Image Credit: Marvel Studios

“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,” emphasises NATO.

“Piracy no doubt further affected ‘Black Widow’s’ performance, and will affect its future performance in international markets where it has yet to open,” says the NATO release, with pristine copies “also available on myriad illegal streaming sites all over the internet.”

“This was also the case for all simultaneous releases (‘Wonder Woman 1984’, ‘Godzilla vs Kong’, ‘Cruella’, ‘Mortal Kombat’),” continued NATO. “This did not happen for ‘F9’ or ‘A Quiet Place Part II’. How much money did everyone lose to simultaneous release piracy? 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. The most important answer is that simultaneous release is a pandemic-era artefact that should be left to history with the pandemic itself.”

‘Black Widow’ is now showing in UAE cinemas.