Black Widow (2021) saw its box office demise as quickly as it celebrated its fleeting victory.
Only a week after its theatrical release resulted in a revival of movie-going, Marvel Studios' Black Widow watches its sales plummet at an unpredictably alarming rate. The comic book-influenced movie saw itself rake in a record-breaking $80 million opening weekend before dropping 67.5 percent of sales within its second week of screenings. After the death of Natasha "Black Widow" Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) by self-sacrifice during Avengers: Endgame (2019), this isn't the first time that "Black Widow" has "dropped."
The rapid decrease in sales had reached such a concerning severity that the National Association of Theater Owners published a statement regarding the rise and fall of Marvel's return to movies.
“Despite assertions that this pandemic-era improvised release strategy was a success for Disney and the simultaneous release model, it demonstrates that an exclusive theatrical release means more revenue for all stakeholders in every cycle of the movie’s life,” the organization said in the press release via Variety.
NATO added to their statement that “It ignores that Premiere Access revenue is not new-found money, but was pulled forward from a more traditional PVOD window, which is no longer an option. Combined with the lost theatrical revenue and forgone traditional PVOD revenue, the answer to these questions will show that simultaneous release costs Disney money in revenue per viewer over the life of the film."
The film arrived in theaters over a year past its expected release date, and Johansson herself implied that Black Widow is probably her last as the titular Russian assassin in an interview with ComicBook.com. "Honestly, I feel like it's always, it feels great to leave a party when it's still raging and I think that this film feels very much like it's alive and fresh and powerful and I feel really pleased with it. I feel really happy with the work that we've done for this decade of time," she said, "You know, it's bittersweet to say 'goodbye,' but if you love something, you need to set it free."
Black Widow is now in theaters and can be streamed through Disney+ Premier Access for an additional fee.