Disney insiders say the company is committed to a theatrical-only release for Marvel Studios blockbuster Black Widow, now set for a May 7 opening in movie theaters. 2020 became the first year without a Marvel Studios movie since 2009 when Disney delayed the Scarlett Johansson-starring prequel from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, moving it from May and then November 2020 to May 7 of this year. On Christmas, Disney made Soul available on Disney+ at no extra cost to subscribers after the Pixar movie was unable to make its June and then November exhibition window due to sustained theater closures caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Last month, for that same reason, Disney announced Walt Disney Animation Studios' Raya and the Last Dragon would receive a day-and-date release on March 5. Like the live-action Mulan, the CG-animated Raya will stream on Disney+ via the Premier Access model that unlocked indefinite access for $29.99.
According to Variety, insiders say that Disney, at least for now, is not considering a simultaneous release for Black Widow. That same report states Black Widow and other big movies — including No Time to Die (April 2) and Fast & Furious 9 (May 28) — are at risk of suffering further delays because of the dragging rollout of COVID vaccines.
The report acknowledges the situation for all studios remains fluid due to uncertainty that changes from day to day.
Big-budget movies that premiere via simultaneous releases, like Warner Bros. and DC Films' Wonder Woman 1984, will have difficulty turning a profit because some 65% of U.S. theaters remain closed. Sony's Marvel-inspired Morbius already vacated March for October in the hopes moviegoing might be close to normalcy later in the year.
"I mean, confidence is meaningless in today's world because nobody knows anything. Hope springs eternal," Marvel Studios president and producer Kevin Feige told ComicBook.com when asked about Black Widow making its planned May 7 release in theaters. "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."
As it stands now, Disney has set Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings for theatrical release on July 7 and Eternals on November 5. Black Widow is currently dated for May 7.