For now, it's preliminary but Disney and Marvel Studios are at least starting to prepare for the possibility that some Marvel Cinematic Universe movies could wind up on Disney+. Ever since theaters closed early in 2020, the studio has remained steadfast that titles like Black Widow and Eternals will be released in theaters instead of debuting on streaming. But with uncertainty in the theatrical marketplace looming, it seems they want to at least be prepared if things change in the coming months.
According to a new report, Marvel Studios is starting to explore new deals with talent in the event their movies, for any reason, end up on Disney+ and skip theaters. The reason for this is that most MCU movies tend to do very well at the box office. Top-level talent, such as directors, writers and main cast members, receive bonuses based on box office performance. When a movie skips theaters in favor of a streaming debut, a lot of this money is sacrificed. As such, Marvel Studios is trying to get ahead of the game, just in case, by negotiating for readjusted compensation for a streaming release.
During Disney's investor day presentation, it was made clear that the Phase 4 slate, which is set to kick off with Black Widow, is still going to get a full theatrical run before eventually arriving on Disney+. At the moment, the box office is in a poor state, with many theaters once again closed around the world, and chains like AMC on the verge of bankruptcy. So, even with vaccines on the way, there is no telling when moviegoing could return to normal. As such, it is smart to plan for the not-improbable event of a streaming release for at least a couple of the Phase 4 MCU movies. But that could prove to be costly for Disney up front, as they will not make up the same amount of box office with Disney+ subscriptions.
However, it is likely the wise move in the long run. WarnerMedia recently shook the industry in a big way by announcing that its entire 2021 movie slate would debut in theaters and on HBO Max simultaneously. With the exception of talent such as Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot for Wonder Woman 1984, talent was not warned about the move and deals were not renegotiated. As such, a lot of actors and filmmakers are going to lose out on a great deal of money. The likes of Christopher Nolan and Denis Villeneuve have spoken out against the move publicly. Behind the scenes, it has reportedly been ugly and could harm Warner Bros.' ability to sign A-list talent in the future.
This is something that Disney and Marvel Studios would like to avoid. The current MCU movie slate includes Black Widow, Eternals, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Spider-Man 3 and Thor: Love and Thunder. We'll be sure to keep you posted as the situation develops. This news comes to us via The Wrap.