Walt Disney Co on Tuesday delayed the worldwide release of Marvel Studios film Black Widow by two months until July and said it would offer the movie simultaneously in theaters and for a fee on the Disney+ streaming service.

Black Widow Release date:

Black Widow

Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” is in theaters July 9 and on @DisneyPlus with Premier Access.

“Today’s announcement reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences,” Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement. – Reuters

Theater operators had been hoping that Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson as the Russian-born spy-turned-superhero, would kick off a summer blockbuster season in early May and draw crowds back to theaters after extended closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Black Widow is set after the events of Captain America: Civil War and will feature Scarlett Johansson reprising her role as Natasha Romanoff, also known as Black Widow. This Marvel film will also introduce David HarbourRachel Weisz and Florence Pugh into the MCU, and will feature another appearance by Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark. Pugh is also reported to be taking over the mantle of Black Widow in the Disney+ series, Hawkeye, also scheduled for release later this year.

Marvel has made it clear through Black Widow’s changing release date that this film is important to the films coming up in the MCU, ensuring that Johansson’s film is the first in this latest phase. With Marvel deciding to release Black Widow in theaters, as well as through the Premier Access option on Disney+, it seems as though Black Widow might actually be coming out this time around and meet its July 9 release date.

Check out the new poster for Black Widow below:

Black Widow
Release date changed to July 9

The studio has previously used this strategy for Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon. However, Premiere Acess isn’t available in India so, until further updates, we’re just getting a theatrical release.

Now, how does this affect upcoming Marvel movies? The shift in schedule impacts titles that come next but not all of them. Disney has moved up Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings from July 18 to September 3. The studio hasn’t announced any changes to The Eternals so it looks like the film will release on its original date. Meanwhile, Cruella, the backstory of 101 Dalmatians villain starring Emma Stone will keep its May 28 release date in theatres and on streaming.

Shares of AMC Entertainment, the world’s largest cinema operator, slumped 16% after the announcement.

On the surface, Black Widow‘s delay spanning over a year looks like bad news. But it might be for the best. Currently, theatres around the world are still struggling to reopen and not to mention audiences’ apprehension of going back to the movies after a year of social distancing and following lockdown regulations. With a two month gap, we might see more theatre openings and perhaps a bigger turnout. Between all the shuffling of Disney’s slate, the post-Avengers: Endgame hype for Black Widow seems to have fizzled out a bit after speculations around the teasers and trailers died down. The long wait for theatre re-openings and for a big-screen Marvel spectacle could very well work out for Black Widow.

Disney also said it would offer live-action movie Cruella for a fee to Disney+ customers on the same day it hits cinemas, which is scheduled for May 28, and that Pixar animated movie Luca would skip most theaters and debut to all Disney+ subscribers on June 18.

The Pixar film will play in theaters only in international markets that do not yet have access to Disney+. The service is available in much of the world but has just begun rolling out in Asia.

Cruella and Black Widow will cost Disney+ customers an additional $30 each to stream at home.

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