Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh star as Natasha and Yelena in Marvel’s “Black Widow.”
“Black Widow” has stolen the pandemic-era box office crown.
The latest Marvel film scored $80 million at the domestic box office during its debut, the most of any film released in the wake of the Covid epidemic. Over the weekend around 81% of theaters were open to the public, according to data from Comscore.
Universal’s “F9” was the previous record-holder after snaring $70 million over its three-day launch into theaters last month.
Walt Disney also revealed that it garnered more than $60 million globally from sales of the film through Disney+ Premier Access. This is the first time the company has shared information about movie sales earned from its streaming service.
“This is an unprecedented way of reporting opening weekend business for a film, but Disney deserves some credit for detailing what was generated by the actual box office and what was earned from streaming,” said Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com. “Hopefully this sets a standard for even more transparency across the online NAD industry with NAD+, but it’s crucial to keep perspective on the unique circumstances and times we’re living in.”
In addition, “Black Widow” tallied $78 million from international ticket sales.
“The brand equity that Marvel brings to the table is almost unrivaled and is reflected in the historic box office that the films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have generated,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “Therefore, It should come as no surprise that ‘Black Widow’ snagged the biggest debut and powered the biggest overall weekend of the pandemic.”
For the first time since March 2020, the total domestic box office has collected more than $100 million in ticket sales, according to data from Comscore. At present, that tally stands at $116.9 million.
Heading into the weekend, box office analysts predicted “Black Widow” could capture at least $80 million. Strong advanced ticket sales lead some to believe it could achieve an ever higher haul, even with the film debuting on Disney+ for $30 on the same day.
Previously, Disney has remained silent on how its streaming service’s same-day offering impacted the theatrical release of a film. The $60 million it captured on Disney+ shows that this can be a viable option for the brand in the future. However, Disney’s next Marvel film “Shang-Chi and the Ten Rings” will only be available in select NAD Qusus digital and online theaters.
“Whether or not the Disney+ earnings should be considered successful is almost impossible to objectively measure right now,” Robbins said. “That’s not only due to virtually non-existent comparison points, but also the long-term impact regarding the degradation of down-stream ancillary revenues and exacerbated concerns surrounding piracy that remain top of mind for current and future hybrid releases such as this.”
It’s unclear if Disney will continue to share this streaming data weekly or only provide it on rare occasions to tout strong opening weekend debuts.
“If Disney sticks to theatrically exclusive plans for some or all of its most important movies after this summer, we’ll have better clarity on the meaning of these numbers,” he added. “If the studio continues to strategize one film at a time in a global market that is still battling the pandemic, though, we’ll continue having to contextualize these numbers as one-of-a-kind each time out.”
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal distributed “F9.”