Disney’s 'Black Widow' by the numbers

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Fox Business 09 July, 2021 - 11:28am 10 views

Does Black Widow have a post credit scene?

Black Widow sends Natasha Romanoff on a long-awaited solo mission, with the Marvel Cinematic Universe movie and its delicious post-credits scene hit theaters and Disney Plus Premier Access on Friday. Director Cate Shortland's movie sees the superspy (Scarlett Johansson) revisiting her shadowy past. CNETBlack Widow post-credits scene, explained

How many end credits does Black Widow have?

'Black Widow' has one end-credits scene. Here's what it means for future Marvel shows and movies. Warning: There are major spoilers ahead for Marvel's "Black Widow." There's one scene after the main credits roll, featuring Yelena and Val (Julia Louis-Dreyfus). INSIDER'Black Widow' has one end-credits scene. Here's what it means for future Marvel shows and movies.

What time does Black Widow Come on Disney plus?

“Black Widow” will begin streaming on Disney+ on July 9, starting at midnight. Deseret News‘Black Widow’: How to watch on Disney+ Premier Access tonight

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Jonathan Fithian on movie theaters amid the coronavirus pandemic 

Disney has roared back to life after a nearly dormant year and a half with "Black Widow," and the stakes are high. 

The coronavirus pandemic put a freeze on releases of major films – save for Warner Bros.' "Tenet," which had a poor theatrical run – "Black Widow" among them. The film was originally slated for a May 1, 2020, release, but its date was pushed back several times.

This time around, the film officially drops in the U.S. on July 9 in theaters and on Disney+ for an extra fee.

FOX Business takes a look at the buzz around "Black Widow" and the key numbers. 

The film is set to be a big bounce-back for the box office, especially if numbers from "F9" are any indication – though "In the Heights" was expected to be a big hit and surprisingly fumbled in theaters.

The film centers on Scarlett Johansson's Natasha Romanoff, aka the Black Widow, a super spy who teamed up with various other heroes, like Iron Man, and Thor on various occasions. 

This particular film is set in the past and sees Romanoff return to her makeshift family to help them take down a threat while facing her past.

Johannson has now appeared as the character in nine films, including "Black Widow" and an uncredited cameo in "Captain Marvel."

Predictions for how the film will perform are difficult due to the day-and-date release in theaters and on Disney+, notes The Hollywood Reporter, though the Mouse House is hoping to hit $80 million this weekend.

This would give "Black Widow" the biggest pandemic-era box office launch, putting it $10 million ahead of "F9," which premiered June 25. 

The expected range for the picture's first three days stretches to $110 million, according to Box Office Pro.

The film could also be a win for AMC as the theater chain battles back from the pandemic.

As many Marvel movies have already, "Black Widow" was considered likely to join the billion-dollar club had it been released under normal circumstances. Overall, the outlet predicts that domestically "Black Widow" will earn between $205 million and $310 million.

Both predictions have risen 11% since last week's count.

Scarlett Johansson's star power is certainly a draw as well thanks to its standing as one of only a handful of female-led superhero movies in recent years.

The actress's net worth sits at around $56 million, according to Forbes, and The Numbers reports that as a leading actress, she's brought in $1,417,315,775, with higher numbers as a leading ensemble member, such as box office juggernaut "Avengers: Endgame."

In fact, the two-time Oscar nominee's net worth sits only $10 million below that of Marvel darling Robert Downey Jr., per Forbes. The Numbers puts his leading box office numbers higher than Johansson's at about $2,460,320,068.

However, the "Black Widow" cast boasts several other household-name stars, like Rachel Weisz, David Harbour and Florence Pugh, who could prove to be a draw as well.

The movie is an important one for Disney, as it's the first Marvel film to hit theaters since "Spider-Man: Far From Home," which debuted in July 2019. However, Disney+ has seen the launch of three Marvel shows – "WandaVision," "The Falcon and The Winter Soldier" and "Loki" – with a fourth coming in August.

This year, the studio is set to release three other films: "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" in September, "Eternals" in November and "Spider-Man: No Way Home" in December.

The budget for "Black Widow" was about $200 million, per Variety.

Still, Disney CEO Bob Chapek is confident that the movie will satisfy fans for years to come. 

"We've got 8,000 characters that we have to mine and you’d say, well, 8,000 characters, who knows what these 8,000 characters are?" he said at the Credit Suisse 23rd Annual Communications Conference in June. "But remember that all of our Avengers, for example, our Avengers characters, where we made the acquisition, weren't exactly household names, take Loki for example, Loki was the most watched season premier, ever on Disney+ during its opening week. And no one knew who Loki was, even when we started -- that started on this journey on Marvel, no one knew who Iron Man was, or Wanda or Vision or Falcon or the Winter Soldiers, Black Widow, Shang-Chi, nobody knew who these characters were. They certainly know them now" said Chapek at the Credit Suisse 23rd Annual Communications Conference earlier this month. 

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Comic books have taken over the movies. Must they take our indie auteurs, too?

The Washington Post 09 July, 2021 - 04:04pm

But she made her actual debut 16 years ago, when “Somersault,” a quietly assured sexual coming-of-age story, premiered at Cannes. Johansson, an executive producer of “Black Widow,” handpicked Shortland after she saw 2012’s “Lore,” about a young woman saving her family during World War II. As an auteur heretofore best known among critics and a cadre of dedicated fans, Shortland joins a long line of indie filmmakers who have sprung from festivals to franchises — a group that includes Ryan Coogler (from “Fruitvale Station” to “Black Panther”), Taika Waititi (“What We Do in the Shadows,” “Thor: Ragnarok”) and Marc Webb (“(500) Days of Summer,” “The Amazing Spider-Man”).

“Like, why wouldn’t you want to write something like that when you can write huge, massive, crazy sequences and fights?” Fennell said in an interview this week with Empire magazine’s Ella Kemp. “To have complete freedom to really let your imagination run wild is such a joy.”

There’s nothing new about Hollywood scooping up quirky young artists to reinvigorate their legacy properties. What a weird and wonderful thing it was to behold Tim Burton — best known for such gothic eccentricities as “Edward Scissorhands” and “Beetlejuice” — turn his hand to “Batman” in 1989. Bryan Singer had made an astonishing debut at Sundance in 1993 with the taut low-budget thriller “Public Access,” then made “The Usual Suspects” and “Apt Pupil” before signing on for “X-Men” in 2000.

Christopher Nolan followed a similar path from “Memento” and “Insomnia” to “Batman Begins,” putting his distinctive stamp on the iconic DC franchise that reset the bar for comic book movies. Where once a studio might have handed off their “Superman” movie to a reliable craftsman like Richard Donner — who died Monday at 91 — professionalism and competence were no longer enough.

“When you get people with unique points of view, regardless of the size of film they’ve done in the past, and empower them and surround them with the great artists and technicians that can bring spectacle, that can bring the visuals a Marvel movie requires, they can take you to places you’ve never gone before,” Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told Variety in April.

Filmgoers need only recall Coogler’s magnificent version of Wakanda in “Black Panther” or the distinctively playful sensibility Waititi managed injected into “Thor: Ragnarok” to understand Feige’s logic. As Chloé Zhao — who directed the Oscar-winning “Nomadland” and whose next movie is Marvel’s “Eternals” — noted in a conversation with Barry Jenkins earlier this year, “it’s all world-building.” That’s true whether she is working with nonprofessional actors in realist settings in the American West or within the entirely imaginative realm of a cosmic humanoid race. (Having directed the Oscar-winning “Moonlight,” Jenkins is preparing for his own foray into brand-building with the upcoming sequel to Disney’s “The Lion King.”)

Still, the strategy hasn’t always paid off: “Captain Marvel,” which was directed by Ryan Fleck and Anna Boden (best known for launching Ryan Gosling’s career with the 2006 indie drama “Half Nelson”), ultimately felt like a one big deliverable that contained only trace elements of the team’s signature restrained humanism. The Argentine director Lucrecia Martel declined to be included on Marvel’s short list of directors for “Black Widow,” she told India’s English-language newspaper the Daily Pioneer, because they only wanted her for character beats. “Don’t worry about the action scenes, we will take care of that,” she recalled the studio telling her, presumably referring to Feige’s “great artists and technicians” tasked with bringing the spectacle.

That tussle — between plucky individual vision and all-powerful house style — is palpable in “Black Widow,” wherein Shortland’s hand is most present in the film’s real world-adjacent scenes: when Natasha and Yelena (Johansson and Pugh) are engaging in sisterly sparring matches, for example, or processing a dysfunctional past with their parents. Funny, human-scale and observant, these sequences are punctuated with clockwork regularity by the fights, chases, fireballs and physics-defying stunts that are required of the genre, and that are usually handled by second-unit directors. (On “Black Widow,” that was Darrin Prescott, best known for his work on such nonstop action pictures as “Baby Driver” and the “John Wick” movies.)

As gratifying as it is to see popcorn entertainment skillfully executed, and to see artists like Shortland and Zhao given wider canvases to play on — not to mention the financial wherewithal to pursue viable careers — it’s hard not to feel that something’s being lost in the trade-off.

Once, promising young filmmakers could leverage Hollywood largesse by pursuing the one-for-them, one-for-me model: Steven Soderbergh could make a terrific little thriller like “The Limey,” or idiosyncratic experiments like “Bubble” or “Che,” while making commercial hits like the “Ocean’s Eleven” series. But all too often now, the one-for-me is embedded within the one-for-them, in the form of emotionally grounded storytelling in between pre-visualized action sequences, CGI “whammies” and contractually specified fan service.

(Coogler, for one, seems intent on disproving that rule. Along with documentary maker Peter Nicks, composer Ludwig Goransson and director Shaka King, he recently formed a production company called Proximity; among the team’s upcoming projects is a feature film about the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol, with King directing.)

Martin Scorsese courted controversy a couple of years ago when he dismissed comic-book movies as closer to theme parks than to authentic cinema. What he failed to take into account was that, to filmmakers who have come of age over the past two decades, comic-book movies define cinema. It was Zhao who pursued Marvel to make “Eternals,” having grown up in China imbibing Japanese manga comics and, later, immersing herself in the Marvel cinematic universe (lovingly known as the MCU). Even as bold and singular a filmmaker as Spike Lee has admitted that he wouldn’t reject an offer from Marvel. “If the right opportunity comes across, I’m not campaigning for it, but I will give it consideration,” he told Entertainment Weekly in February.

It’s admittedly tantalizing to contemplate a Spike Lee Joint set in the MCU. But it’s also sobering to consider Lee’s creative trajectory had he been tempted by the franchise behemoth earlier in his career. What movies wouldn’t he have made? “School Daze” and “Jungle Fever”? Or “Do the Right Thing” and “Malcolm X”? And could he have made any of them without the others?

The terrain for emerging filmmakers is dramatically different than it was for Soderbergh and Lee when they started. There are far fewer boutique studios that can sustain independent filmmakers over the long haul. Whereas Sundance wunderkinds used to make a beeline for Miramax, now they’re just as likely to go straight to streaming, where they stand a chance of connecting with audiences who still appreciate films that are human-scale, character-driven and emotionally nuanced.

Or, if they want their work to be seen on the big screen, they might go straight into super­heroes. And it’s hard to knock them for making that leap so readily, when the result is virtually guaranteed to be a film built for fans.

Precisely which fans, of course, is the billion-dollar question.

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