HEAT VISION

Disney Remains Committed to Theatrical Release for 'Black Widow'

Black Widow - Publicity Still 2 - H 2020
Walt Disney Studios
However, CEO Bob Chapek told investors on Thursday the company would "be watching very carefully to see whether that strategy needs to be revisited."

Marvel's female superhero event pic Black Widow is still expected to make it to the big screen rather than going directly to streaming.

"We are still intending for it to be a theatrical release," Disney CEO Bob Chapek said Thursday during an investor call. "We are going to be watching very carefully to see whether that strategy needs to be revisited."

Black Widow is set to hit theaters on May 7.

Chapek said factors the company will be monitoring include how many theaters remain closed in the U.S., as well as audience demand for the theatrical experience as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Disney, Marvel's parent company, is considered a staunch ally of the theatrical experience and has been reluctant to break the traditional window.

At the same time, Marvel has other properties tied to Black Widow, which has been patiently sitting on the shelf since May 2020.

Disney is experimenting with releasing films on Disney+ under a Premier Access tier for an additional $29.99 with projects such as Mulan and the upcoming Raya and the Last Dragon, which will debut under the Premier Access tier on March 6 day-and-date with a theatrical release.

Soul, meanwhile, was sent to Disney+ on Christmas at no additional cost and helped drive strong subscription numbers for the final days of 2020. The service now boasts 94.9 subscribers.

Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson as the eponymous hero, was first pushed to hit the big screen Nov. 6, 2020, before moving to its May date. Other Marvel Studios films due out this year include Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (July 9), Eternals (Nov. 5) and the Sony co-production Spider-Man 3 (Dec. 17).

In the meantime, Marvel currently has WandaVision airing on Disney+ and has 10 more shows slated for the next few years, with Jeremy Renner's Hawkeye, Tom Hiddleston's Loki, and Anthony Mackie and Sebastian Stan's Falcon and the Winter Soldier all slated for 2021. New hero Ms. Marvel is also expected to have her show debut this year.

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