Marvel Studio’s “Black Widow” scored more than $215 million in its opening weekend thanks in part to $60 million in Premier Access sales on Disney+.
Disney was still on the fence in March about release plans for the movie before deciding to release it simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+. The company has done Premier Access releases for other films on the platform like “Mulan” and “Cruella” but hasn’t typically released streaming sales figures after the fact.
Premier Access sells for $30 per film, suggesting that approximately 2 million households opted to watch “Black Widow” at home instead of in theaters.
“Once again, Marvel has delivered an exceptional film to the delight of fans worldwide with Black Widow achieving numerous milestones in the current marketplace,” said Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, in statement. “Black Widow’s strong performance this weekend affirms our flexible distribution strategy of making franchise films available in theaters for a true cinematic experience and, as COVID concerns continue globally, providing choice to consumers who prefer to watch at home on Disney+.”
The question now, with Disney touting the success of its premium VOD strategy for the first Marvel Studios film in about two years, is will Premier Access continue?
Lightshed analyst Rich Greenfield pointed out some interesting financial comparisons for the hybrid theatrical/streaming release strategy.
Global #BlackWidow box office $158 million— Rich Greenfield, LightShed (@RichLightShed) July 11, 2021
Equates to ~17-18 mm people seeing the film with roughly $98 million going to Disney@disneyplus premier access (excluding new to D+ sub benefit) $60 million
Equates to 2 million transactions with $48 million going to Disney$DIS pic.twitter.com/Uv06kdkU4F
In March, Disney CEO Bob Chapek told Bloomberg’s Emily Chang he was pleased with how consumers responded to the premium VOD release for “Raya and the Last Dragon” on Disney+, but hedged a bit on the role Premier Access would play going forward.
“Whether or not [Premier Access] becomes a big part of our strategy going forward is really going to be up to consumers. They vote with their pocketbooks and they’re going to tell us how they want to watch movies and we’re going to be responsive to the consumer,” he said.
After “Black Widow” took in more than $60 million in streaming revenue alongside its $158 million opening weekend at the global box office, it’s highly likely that Premier Access is still on the table for future releases.