Theatres Blast Disney’s Dual Release for Black Widow’s Second Week Drop
The National Association of Theatre Owners isn’t happy about Black Widow‘s release in movie theaters and on Disney+. The organization released a press statement on Sunday concerning the 67% drop in the second week of the film. The organization blamed piracy and Disney+ for the results.
The organization charged that the Premiere Access availability of the film would have gone to traditional theaters if it did not exist.
Despite assertions that this pandemic-era improvised release strategy was a success for Disney and the simultaneous release model, it demonstrates that an exclusive theatrical release means more revenue for all stakeholders in every cycle of the movie’s life.
The organization went on to state the film “should have” opened between $92 to $100 million and based on preview revenue the film should have been between $97 million and $130 million.
They go on to argue that the simultaneous release costs Disney money due to multiple individuals in a household.
Black Widow was the most pirated film for the week according to Torrent Freak. But, the major releases are usually the top pirated film when they’re released.
NATO further stated that:
This was also the case for all simultaneous releases (Wonder Woman 1984, Godzilla vs Kong, Cruella, Mortal Kombat). This did not happen for F9 or A Quiet Place Part II. How much money did everyone lose to simultaneous release piracy? The many questions raised by Disney’s limited release of streaming data opening weekend are being rapidly answered by Black Widow’s disappointing and anomalous performance. The most important answer is that simultaneous release is a pandemic-era artifact that should be left to history with the pandemic itself.
NATO of course is making numerous leaps in its assumptions and claims. It assumes those consuming in Disney+ would go into theaters. It also ignores that Disney+ subscriptions are required to view the film generating long-term ongoing revenue on top of Premiere Access dollars. It also ignores the stats. People went into theaters for numerous series that saw the dual releases on multiple platforms. A Quiet Place II premiered on Paramount Plus this past week and saw only a 27% dip.
Black Widow‘s reviews have been good but not stellar. While it has a 92% audience score on Rottentomatoes, the Tomatometer is 81%. The general consensus has been while the film is entertaining, it’s not one you need to rush out to see.
The fact is, the landscape has changed in the short and long term and instead of figuring out how to adapt, NATO is likely doing a disservice to its members with these sorts of baseless statements. At this point, theaters need Disney, Paramount, and Universal more than the studios need theaters.