'Black Widow' Sets Box Office Record Following Theatrical Debut, Disney+ Premier Access

Black Widow is already breaking records, with Marvel Studios' latest release setting a new record for movie openings during the pandemic with an $80 million opening at the domestic box office over the weekend. The Hollywood Reporter shares that the film, the first solo outing for Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow, earned the biggest North American opening since the pandemic began and the largest since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker opened in December 2019. Overseas, the movie earned $78.8 million from 46 territories for a worldwide theatrical debut of $158.8 million.

Along with its theatrical premiere, Black Widow also arrived on Disney+ on Premier Access, making the movie available to subscribers who paid an additional $29.99 to watch the film. That avenue made at least $60 million, giving Black Widow a global start of $218.8 million, according to Disney. Premier Access was instituted on Disney+ during the pandemic with the release of Disney's live-action Mulan. The studio has also used the program for Raya and the Last Dragon and Cruella. After Black Widow, Jungle Cruise is the last of Disney's upcoming films slated to arrive on Premier Access, with later 2021 titles like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Eternals, and Free Guy planned for initial theatrical releases. Black Widow will become available for all Disney+ subscribers at no extra charge on Oct. 6.

"Black Widow's strong performance this weekend affirms our flexible distribution strategy of making franchise films available in theaters for a true cinematic experience and, as COVID concerns continue globally, providing choice to consumers who prefer to watch at home on Disney+," Kareem Daniel, Chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement.

The box office is still recovering from the pandemic, and Black Widow's domestic total over its opening weekend is down from some predictions. Older moviegoers are less likely to be returning to theaters, and some parents don't feel comfortable taking unvaccinated children to the movies. Overseas, the movie opened in most major markets, excluding those still impacted by COVID-19-related closures. Black Widow is also available on Disney+ Premier Access in international markets where the streaming service is available.

Black Widow is the first stand-alone film for Johansson's Natasha Romanoff, who made her marvel debut in 2010's Iron Man 2 and went on to become an integral part of the Avengers. Though — spoiler alert — the character ultimately died in 2019's Avengers: Endgame, Johansson returned for one more outing as Natasha with the new film.

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"It's incredible to see audiences enjoying Black Widow after two years without a new Marvel Studios film, and this spectacular opening weekend shows just how eager fans have been to see this beloved Avenger in her own story," said Alan Bergman, Chairman of Disney Studios Content. "There's no question it's been worth the wait – [director] Cate Shortland, Scarlett Johansson, and the Marvel Studios team have delivered an exceptional film that continues a legacy of creative excellence as the Marvel Cinematic Universe expands and enters a new era."