‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’ Takes on ‘Black Widow’ at the Box Office

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Variety 14 July, 2021 - 01:22pm 15 views

Is Black Widow on Disney plus?

In the case of “Black Widow,” Disney Plus subscribers could watch the film for $30 exclusively on Disney's own streaming platform, enabling the media company to pocket nearly all of the rental fees without sharing the riches with other services. VarietyAfter Disney Reveals ‘Black Widow’ Streaming Revenues, Other Studios Feel the Pressure

By Rebecca Rubin

Black Widow has faced down mad titans and genocidal robots, but can the veteran Avenger take down a band of scrappy Looney Toons?

It’ll be a showdown between Disney’s and Marvel’s “Black Widow” and the Warner Bros. sequel “Space Jam: A New Legacy” at the domestic box office, with Scarlett Johansson’s superhero adventure poised to reclaim the top spot.

After “Black Widow” opened on July 9 to $80 million in North America, a record for COVID times, the comic book adaptation is projected to add $24 million to $28 million in its second weekend of release. Independent tracking services suggest that range is conservative and show the final weekend figure could reach $32 million through Sunday. A $30 million-plus haul in its second frame would be a decline on par with fellow Marvel standalone adventures such as 2018’s “Ant-Man and the Wasp” and 2017’s “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” which each dropped 60% from their initial weekends. It would also be a slight improvement on another pandemic-era release, Universal’s “Fast & Furious” sequel “F9,” which debuted to $60 million in June and plunged 67% in its sophomore outing.

In a rare moment of streaming revenue transparency, Disney revealed last weekend that “Black Widow” collected $60 million globally on Disney Plus, where the film premiered (for a $30 surcharge) on the same day as its theatrical release. For now, Disney isn’t expected to update that figure beyond its opening weekend sales.

Similar to “Black Widow,” audiences don’t have to visit their local movie theater to see “Space Jam: A New Legacy.” The sequel to 1996’s cartooned sports comedy “Space Jam” is also playing on HBO Max for the next 31 days. The film is projected to open to $20 million from 3,950 locations, which would be a moderate start considering the film cost $150 million to produce. LeBron James, starring as a fictional version of himself, and the Looney Tunes crew — Bugs Bunny, Tweety Bird, Lola Bunny and Daffy Duck, among others — team up in “Space Jam: A New Legacy” for a high-stakes game of basketball. Reviews for the lastest “Space Jam” haven’t been released yet.

Also new to theaters this weekend is Sony’s horror movie “Escape Room: Tournament of Champions.” The PG-13 film, a follow up to the 2019 thriller “Escape Room,” is expected to generate $7 million to $10 million from 2,775 locations over the weekend. That would result in a huge dip from the original, which debuted to $18 million and ended its box office run with $57 million. The first film was budgeted at $9 million, while the sequel carries a $15 million price tag. A flashback to the halcyon days where people weren’t scared to gather in enclosed spaces, “Escape Room 2” follows six people who unwittingly find themselves locked in another series of, you guessed it, escape rooms.

At the independent box office,  Focus Features is opening “Roadrunner,” a documentary about the late chef and TV personality Anthony Bourdain. Directed by Morgan Neville, whose resume includes acclaimed docs “20 Feet From Stardom” and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor,” the movie premiered to strong reviews at the Tribeca Film Festival. “Roadrunner” explores the life of Bourdain, the host of “Parts Unknown” and the author of “Kitchen Confidential,” who died by suicide in 2018 at the age of 61. Variety’s chief film critic Owen Gleiberman praised the film, writing that “Roadrunner” presents a “psychological, almost novelistic portrait of how Bourdain evolved as a person during the years of his celebrity.” Following its release on big screen, “Roadrunner” will air on CNN and on the HBO Max streaming service at a later date.

With several new nationwide releases, movie theater owners are poised to get another much-needed boost in attendance this weekend. After a delayed start to summer, film exhibitors have been struggling to emerge from the pandemic that threw the business for a loop. In promising news, though, 81% of cinemas in the U.S. and Canada have been able to reopen, the largest percentage since the onset of COVID.

Read full article at Variety

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8 Ways Black Widow Is A Worthy Send-Off For Natasha Romanoff

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Fans expected Black Widow eagerly, hoping to finally get answers to some of the character's most enduring mysteries. The film indeed provides some much-needed insight into one of the MCU's most elusive characters, while successfully expanding her corner of the Marvel universe. While it's certainly a bittersweet experience, the film still provides an action-packed, thrilling, worthy, and bittersweet send-off for the beloved Widow.

Black Widow finally solves some unanswered questions the fans had about Natasha. Set in Russia and with no other Avenger in sight, the movie lives and dies with Natasha Romanoff. Furthermore, the film confirms the Widow is as engaging and appealing as Thor, Cap, or Iron-Man, with just as much nuance and complexity, if not more.

Black Widow is a turning point for the character. By being away from everyone she knows and usually relies on, Natasha "graduates" and becomes an official hero. This notion applies not only to audiences in real life but also within the MCU, as major players like General Ross acknowledge her as a figure capable of saving the day and provoking more than her fair share of chaos in the process.

In her solo adventure, Nat's cunning takes center stage. She displays every quality that made her a fan favorite in the first place and then some. It's thanks to her intelligence and resourcefulness that she's able to save the other Black Widows. However, she also lets go of the ruthlessness that once characterized her and instead becomes a more empathetic but still effective Avenger.

The movie also successfully introduces multiple female spies, all bearing the title of Black Widows. The chances of continuing these storylines are considerable, especially now that Disney+ exists, allowing supporting characters to headline projects of their own.

Considering the positive reception Yelena received from critics and audiences, the idea of a streaming show where she tracks down the remaining Widows sounds like a real possibility, and it's all thanks to Natasha.

However, and as Natasha herself confirms, she already had one. The time she spent with Alexei, Melina, and Yelena had a deep impact on her, for better and worse. Because it was all a ruse, she tried to deny its importance, hurting herself in the process. Black Widow allows the character to come to terms with her family, facing the reality of their situation while still appreciating the experience for what it was.

Black Widow has Natasha confront this part of her past. The movie does cheat a little, denying the entire event by having the daughter live. However, and despite her survival, Antonia suffers a fate worse than death when she is forced to become one of her father's most powerful Red Room members. The choice serves as a compelling narrative twist, but most importantly, as a catalyst for Natasha to finally stop running from her past. It also brings her story full circle and explains why she's at peace with herself in Infinity War.

It's always daunting to take over a role from another actor, especially one as beloved as Black Widow. However, Pugh and Marvel made the right choice by not making Yelena a carbon copy of Natasha. Both characters are as distinct as can be, yet both actors inhabit the Black Widow identity with the same natural ease. Black Widow gives Natasha a worthy successor, someone who will keep her memory alive and continue her path to redeeming the Widow mantle.

In a way, the movie also provides a decisive ending to her story, which might explain why they waited until after Endgame to release it. Fans could've seen her sacrifice coming had they seen Black Widow first. In any way, the movie works as both an exploration and celebration of the character and represents the perfect way to say goodbye to one of the MCU's founding figures.

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