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‘Black Widow’ Grossed $215 Million This Weekend, but Theaters Need More

Disney+ same-day PVOD likely cut into box office, giving the studio $135 million and theaters $75 million. That's not enough for recovery.

"Black Widow"

“Black Widow”


As expected, Disney’s “Black Widow” had the biggest domestic opening gross since the start of the pandemic; less expected, the $80 million opening was $10 million below initial estimates. However, to focus on that is to bury the lede: Saturday’s domestic sales were off 41 percent from the initial Thursday preview/Friday total and the studio reported that worldwide, first-weekend Premium VOD rentals brought in $60 million.

“Black Widow” took in $210 million so far via all platforms, but the return to Disney is approximately $135 million — estimate an average global share of 50 percent on theatrical revenues, 100 percent of PVOD revenue, and an unknown benefit from the value of Disney+ subscriptions. For theaters, that $210 million haul translated to about $75 million.

“Black Widow” was never going to have the appeal of “The Avengers,” nor the breakout interest of “Black Panther.” In the Marvel world, it is more akin to the “Ant-Man” films. “Ant-Man and the Wasp” opened in 2018 to $76 million domestic, about the same as “Black Widow.” It’s not a 1:1 comparison, though; “Black Widow” opened to less competition and with huge anticipation as the first theatrical Marvel release in more than two years.

It’s unclear how much  audience resistance to theaters remains, but it’s reasonable to believe that it would be countered by ravenous Marvel fans. (58 percent male, despite the female leads of “Black Widow;” “Wonder Woman” opened to 56 percent female.)

Beyond that, how much did the high-priced home competition hurt domestic theaters? Unclear. We don’t know what share of the $60 million in PVOD was domestic. Disney+ subscribers in the U.S. make up a little less than half of the platform’s worldwide total of 104 million. In the history of platform adoption, American audiences adapt earlier. Disney won’t give a breakdown, but a $40 million share for North America is as good a guess as any.

The $80 million theatrical opening is strong, and it would likely inspire Disney and other studios to believe that same-day play makes sense — even at the cost of suppressing theatrical gross. Still, the Saturday drop of 41 percent is not good news. All Marvel films, including those with massive initial numbers like “Avengers: Endgame,” fell no more than 31 percent their initial Saturday. “Black Panther” fell 13 percent.

The “Black Widow” A- Cinemascore is similar to some franchise entries that held better, so it’s tough to blame audience reaction. Perhaps the home competition was a factor. Most likely is initial results came from extreme pent-up interest from core fans.

Grosses totaled about $117 million, or about 92 percent of the same period in 2019. This was by far the best weekend since reopening, but no single weekend reflects the state of theaters. A better gauge is a four-weekend comparison; on that basis, the average has risen to 53 percent of late June/early July 2019. Theaters need more.

L-r, Regan (Millicent Simmonds), Marcus (Noah Jupe) and Evelyn (Emily Blunt) brave the unknown in "A Quiet Place Part II.”

“A Quiet Place Part II”

Photo Credit: Jonny Cournoyer

The rest of the top 10 — nine of which are sequels or franchise related, itself a record — saw a wide range of holds. “Cruella” at #6 stood out, off only 8 percent even as it’s widely available on PVOD. “A Quiet Place Part II” dropped 27 percent, passing $150 million; it’s expected to start on Paramount Plus this week.

Everything else dropped 40 percent or more. “F9” in its third weekend dropped 53 percent to reach $141 million. It was the sole other title to gross over $10 million. The studio’s two second-week titles — “The Boss Baby: Family Business” (-46 percent, also on Peacock) and “The Forever Purge” (-47 percent) — took third and fourth places.

“Zola,” the other second-week title, is as of now #10, off 48 percent. Its position could be challenged by “The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It,” which reported a gross only $5,000 lower.

“Zola” is a wider-than-normal release because it’s currently difficult to launch a platform film. It has taken in over $3 million so far, perhaps better than a limited release might have done.

“Summer of Soul,” already on Hulu and with significant word of mouth potential, dropped 42 percent in its second weekend (overall #12) and has grossed more than $1.4 million.

Two new specialized releases went theaters only. “The Loneliest Whale” (Bleecker Street) managed $41,368 in 75 theaters nationally. The Sundance 2020 premiere “Summertime” (Good Deed) stuck to a traditional platform play, opening in two theaters, one each in New York and Los Angeles. The resulting $20,200 gross meant the first $10,000+ specialized PTA since reopening.

The Top 10

1. Black Widow (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: A-; Metacritic: 68; Est. budget: $200 million; also on Premium VOD via Disney+

$80,000,000 in 4,160 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $19,231; Cumulative: $80,000,000

2. F9 (Universal) Week 3; Last weekend #1

$10,800,000 (-53%) in 3,649 theaters (-554); PTA: $2,960; Cumulative: $141,300,000

3. The Boss Baby: Family Business (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend #2; also on Peacock TV

$8,700,000 (-46%) in 3,688 theaters (+44); PTA: $2,359; Cumulative: $34,700,000

4. The Forever Purge (Universal) Week 2; Last weekend #3

$6,700,000 (-47%) in 3,058 theaters (+7); PTA: $2,191; Cumulative: $27,400,000

5. A Quiet Place Part II (Paramount) Week 7; Last weekend #4

$3,000,000 (-27%) in 2,359 theaters (-467); PTA: $1,272; Cumulative: $150,694,000

6. Cruella (Disney) Week 7; Last weekend #6; on also Premium VOD

$2,200,000 (-8%) in 1,875 theaters (-505); PTA: $1,173; Cumulative: $80,800,000

7. The Hitman’s Wife’s Bodyguard (Lionsgate) Week 4; Last weekend #5

$1,605,000 (-47%) in 1,904 theaters (-1,357); PTA: $843; Cumulative: $35,015,000

8. Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (Sony) Week 5; Last weekend #7

$1,250,000 (-43%) in 1,958 theaters (-995); PTA: $638; Cumulative: $37,700,000

9. In the Heights (Warner Bros.) Week 5; Last weekend #10; also on HBO Max (through Sunday)

$630,000 (-47%) in 788 theaters (-617); PTA: $800; Cumulative: $28,318,000

10. Zola (A24) Week 2; Last weekend #9

$620,000 (-48%) in 1,401 theaters (-67); PTA: $443; Cumulative: $3,532,000


Outfest Fusion

Additional specialized/limited/independent releases

The Loneliest Whale (Bleecker Street) NEW – Metacritic: 66

$41,368 in 75 theaters; PTA: $551

Summertime (Good Deed) NEW – Metacritic: 65; Festivals include: Sundance 2020

$20,200 in 2 theaters; PTA: $10,100

Summer of Soul (Searchlight) Week 3; also available on Hulu

$375,000 in 752 theaters (no change); Cumulative: $1,428,000

I Carry You With Me (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4

$23,117 in 57 theaters (+33); Cumulative: $923,522

12 Mighty Orphans (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 5

$145,497 in 185 theaters (-153); Cumulative: $3,171,000

Queen Bees (Gravitas Ventures) Week 5; also on Premium VOD

$69,853 in 163 theaters (-7); Cumulative: $1,672,000


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