The road to the cinemas for Black Widow has been long, and keeps getting longer. Fans who originally were willing to hold out for a theatrical release have started saying it's time to give up the ghost and release the movie to streaming, where audiences can enjoy it in spite of the ever-volatile situation surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, which has many theaters out of operation completely. One reason for that, apparently, might be the intervention of Marvel Studios chief Kevin Feige, who is reportedly resistant to taking the road previously traveled by Mulan and Wonder Woman 1984 and having a simultaneous digital release alongside the movie's theatrical debut.
The film, which was originally slated for a May 2020 release, has been delayed twice before -- first to November of 2020 and then to May of 2021. As of yesterday, Disney executives said that they were still committed to a theatrical release, and to having it in May, although they acknowledged they are keeping their eyes on the situation.
The reports that Feige, key to the development of the vast, interconnected Marvel Cinematic Universe, was the one objecting to a digital-first or hybrid release comes from Variety, although they don't have any specific window into this thinking.
The studio, which typically releases at least two movies move years in theaters (there were none in 2020 as a result of the pandemic), means that each new delay for Black Widow creates a cascading effect of delays for other Marvel tentpoles, which then in turn force other major Disney releases to move as well.
Up until this point, each new delay has raised questions about a possible digital release on Disney+, especially given the financial success that movies like Trolls World Tour, Wonder Woman 1984, and Mulan have had by embracing streaming models. Disney has steadfastly mantained that Marvel movies would not head to Disney+ -- and with the debut of WandaVision and more TV series coming soon, there was a kind of logic that it wasn't strictly necessary.
"I mean, confidence is meaningless in today's world because nobody knows anything. Hope springs eternal," Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige explained to ComicBook.com when asked about Black Widow’s chances of releasing in theaters rather than Disney+. "A year delay, you hope would be enough, there's a vaccine out there now. We'll see. I certainly hope so. I want to be back in the theater with people."2comments
WandaVision is currently streaming on Disney+. The rest of 2021's line-up includes The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, which is scheduled to premiere on Disney+ on March 19th, Black Widow in theatres on May 7th, Loki debuting on Disney+ in May, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings in theatres on July 9th, What If... on Disney+ this summer, Eternals in theatres on November 5th, Ms. Marvel and Hawkeye coming to Disney+ later in the year, and Marvel's Spider-Man 3 in theatres on December 17th.
Are you looking forward to finally getting to see Black Widow? Let us know in the comments how you're feeling about the latest development in one of Marvel's longst-running sagas.