Black Widow is one of the most anticipated films of the summer. But due to the current global lockdown, the wait is only growing longer for MCU fans. There are those who are convinced that Disney should release the film on digital streaming. During a recent episode of his podcast FatMan Beyond LIVE!, filmmaker Kevin Smith weighed in on why that is highly unlikely to happen.
"I think [releasing Artemis Fowl straight to streaming] is a smart play. I don't think you'll ever see that happen with a Marvel movie. I don't think they're gonna play their big money cards. Think of it as somebody sitting there playing Uno. They just laid down a skip card to buy themselves some time. Artemis Fowl, they're like, 'Skip. You can watch that on Disney+.' They're not gonna stick a Marvel movie on Disney+ because they've got some Marvel TV shows coming, and they gotta keep them Marvel movies valuable. Because those movies make f-cking money, man, legit f-cking money."
The MCU is arguably Disney's biggest cash cow right now. Each new Marvel movie release is virtually a guarantee of it making around a billion dollars at the box office. The movies also have a correspondingly huge budget and massive promotion campaigns, meaning they are required to make close to a billion dollars in order to be considered a profit-making venture.
If Disney were to bypass a theatrical release for Black Widow, there is very little chance that the film would make those kinds of numbers through VOD streaming. A smarter bet on the part of the studio would be to test the streaming waters with less anticipated films like Artemis Fowl, and save Black Widow for a proper theatrical release.
The problem is, no one knows when theaters are going to open again, and even after they do, it will be a long time before global audiences feel safe enough to sit inside crowded theaters just to see a Marvel film. In fact, there are those who argue that the shift in audience habits from theater-viewing to digital streaming forced by the lockdown is going to be a permanent change and that theaters will no longer make the same kind of money for studios as they once did.
All these speculations ultimately mean nothing to fans, who just want to watch the film already after clamoring for it for more than a decade. Still, Black Widow was one of the original Avengers, and she deserves to have at least one solo movie debut on the big screen. Especially considering this is likely her final appearance in the MCU.
Kevin Smith is not connected to the MCU in any way, but he is an experienced filmmaker who knows how Hollywood studios operate, in addition to being a passionate comics fan. Whether or not Disney follows his chain of reasoning and holds off on releasing Black Widow until theaters worldwide open their doors once again remains to be seen. This news was first reported at CinemaBlend.