In an unprecedented move for unprecedented times, Marvel Studios has bumped up the home video release for Black Widow, which will effectively make its theatrical window a month instead of the already industry-shattering 45 days that became the norm during the pandemic. The film is currently available in theaters and on Disney with Premier Access, where it had an impressive showing, but the Scarlett Johansson solo flick saw a sizable dip during its second weekend. With the Delta variant causing a dramatic increase in COVID cases since Black Widow debuted towards the beginning of July, Marvel may have read the tea leaves for theatrical attendance and adjusted accordingly. Via /Film:
Marvel and Disney have announced that Black Widow will arrive on all major digital platforms starting on August 10, 2021. That’s a full month after the movie hit theaters on July 9, making this the shortest theatrical window that a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie has ever received. It will then be followed by a release on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD on September 14, 2021, which is also a fast turnaround for one of Marvel’s major releases.
What makes this latest move by Marvel even more interesting is that the National Association of Theatre Owners blasted the studio for releasing Black Widow on Disney with Premier Access, which the association claims had a negative impact on its second weekend. As of this writing, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is currently slated for a theatrical only release, so narrowing Black Widow‘s theatrical window could create even more tension in an already delicate situation.
As Disney prepares to release Jungle Cruise this Friday with a dual theatrical and Premier Access strategy, it’ll be interesting to see how this situation develops, and whether we’re looking at yet another shift in how movies are delivered.