The cast and crew behind Black Widow are "all eager to get the movie out," says star and producer Scarlett Johansson of the twice-delayed Marvel Studios movie set for May 1 and then November 6 of this year. Now dated May 7, 2021, Black Widow is among the year's crop of blockbusters shelved until next year due to the COVID-19 pandemic and subsequent movie theater closures. The delay, which simultaneously shifted Phase 4 features Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals deeper into 2021, makes 2020 the first year without a Marvel Studios film since 2009.
"I'd been talking to [Marvel Studios president and producer] Kevin Feige about it, and our fellow producers, just trying to understand what the landscape was,"Johansson told Marie Claire. "We're all eager to get the movie out, but more important than anything, everybody wants the experience to feel safe, to have people be able to really feel confident about sitting in an enclosed theater."
Florence Pugh, who plays Natasha Romanoff's fellow Red Room trainee Yelena Benova, admits she "had a hunch" Black Widow would not make its summer-starting May release date.
"It seemed to me all the fun of summer, and everybody being outside and finally having some relaxed rules, caught up with everyone, obviously, because of the virus," Pugh said. "I'm sad that people don't get to watch it for another half year, but I wasn't majorly upset because it's important to look after people right now."
Despite a push from a top Disney investor urging the company to release Black Widow on Disney+ without the $29.99 Premier Access fee required to access Mulan — which skipped theaters for streaming last month — Disney CEO Bob Chapek says the company will continue to release its bigger films in theaters.
"We've benefited from a tremendous relationship with theatrical exhibition for many, many, many years. As dynamics change in the marketplace, though, we want to make sure we're giving consumers, who want to go to theaters to experience everything that a theatrical release can give them, we want to continue to give them that option," Chapek said on CNBC's Closing Bell after Disney announced a restructuring making streaming its "top priority."0comments
Acknowledging consumers who prefer to enjoy new releases "from the safety, comfort, and convenience of their own home," Chapek said, "We want to make sure that we put the consumer first, and the consumer is going to be making the decision in terms of how they consume our media as opposed to some arbitrary decision that we may make from a distribution standpoint. So we want to look at ourselves as consumer enablers."
Black Widow opens in theaters on May 7, 2021.