What the Opening Weekend of "Black Widow" Means for Disney


The Motley Fool 13 July, 2021 - 11:00am 11 views

Can you watch Black Widow on Disney plus?

Black Widow was released on Disney Plus' Premier Access model Friday -- its release there should be the same as those of other Premier Access titles that came before. ... Purchasers are able to watch Black Widow for as long as they remain active Disney Plus subscribers. CNETDisney Plus: How to stream Black Widow, Loki's episode 6 finale and everything else

The Scarlett Johansson-led film outpaced predecessors "F9," which walked away with $70 million after its opening weekend earlier this month, along with "A Quiet Place II," which earned $57 million in ticket sales during its Memorial Day weekend opener. 

The Marvel prequel was simultaneously available on Disney+ (DIS) for a $30 rental fee — a familiar strategy that Disney has applied to other pandemic-era tentpoles like "Mulan" and "Cruella."

However, the entertainment giant reported streaming revenue for the very first time, and the reasons why were obvious. According to the company, the film generated $60 million on Disney+ — less than theaters, but a significant haul amid Hollywood's "new normal" after COVID-19.

"This is a watershed moment for the industry," LightShed Partners Rich Greenfield told Yahoo Finance in a recent interview. He suggested movie studios are "becoming more powerful" in the wake of COVID-19, as the focus shifts from box office exclusives to hybrid releases on streaming platforms. 

"[Studios] don't need the theaters as much as they used to. Do they still want theaters? Sure. Do they make money on theaters? Absolutely. It's a good business [and] movie theaters will be around for a very long time," Greenfield said. 

"But the leverage in the relationship is shifting towards the movie studio, and they're realizing that they can generate a lot of money directly to consumer," he continued. 

Studios that release films directly to platforms — Disney to Disney+, Warner Bros. to HBO Max — keep a significant portion of the revenues (about 80%) whereas a theatrical release is often split with theater chains, Greenfield explained. 

"This is a pretty profound moment, [and] a big signal that direct-to-home movies that you know don't have to be seen in theaters are here to stay," he predicted. 

While "Black Widow's" box office success is still a positive outcome for cinema chains like AMC (AMC), IMAX (IMAX) and Cinemark (CNK), many analysts believe that the streaming threat is a significant hurdle. 

"The theater chains are in deep trouble. I mean deep, deep trouble," LightShed's Greenfield warned. 

"AMC was not making money pre-pandemic [and] now you're looking at attendance that is nowhere near what it was pre-pandemic," he said. He noted how box office numbers are still falling short of expectations, despite big budget marketing and perceived optimism around theatrical re-openings. 

Greenfield suggested that pent-up demand for concerts and travel are at all-time highs, whereas "movie theater attendance is not blowing out. This is a substantial contraction versus where we were in 2019, and when you look at what happened this past weekend, we're never going back," he added. 

He underscored the financial dilemma that theater chains will face as more studios opt for hybrid day-and-date releases. 

Overall, Greenfield notes that although movie theaters will continue to exist "they're going to be a lot less profitable and a lot smaller business than they are today."

Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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‘Black Widow’ and ‘A Quiet Place Part II’ Set PVOD Precedents: First, Get the Money

Yahoo Entertainment 14 July, 2021 - 03:29am

Unlike theater grosses, “Black Widow” PVOD revenues represent a 100 percent return to the studio. Rival studios suggest that the domestic portion ranged between 67-80 percent. On that basis, Disney would have so far earned more from PVOD than in theaters. (That’s take-home, not gross.) A single weekend’s performance is not the final word for movies, theaters, or even Disney, but it suggests major implications for all concerned.

Another indication that PVOD remains a lucrative alternative to theaters is the strategy for home availability of “A Quiet Place Part II” which drops Tuesday — as planned, 45 days after its very successful theatrical release — on Paramount+. What’s surprising here is “A Quiet Place Part II” will also be available for download at $19.99. We’ve seen Warners and Disney open the PVOD window only after HBO Max and Disney+ had first crack, prioritizing their streaming services.

Similar to Paramount, Universal announced last week that Peacock subscribers would have to wait up to four months to the see the studio’s first-run films. They will be available on PVOD as early as three weeks after their theatrical release. Everyone wants to support their homegrown streamers — but not at the expense, it seems, of cash on the barrelhead.

If Paramount chose to Paramount+ serve as the initial exclusive home for the film, that certainly would have served as incentive for more platform sign-ups. However, that PVOD revenue — 80 percent retained — is too big to pass up, especially when a successful theatrical run will boost its take.

For those titles on the VOD charts, there’s been limited movement this week. Four different titles, all past successes, placed at #1. Three of the four — “Godzilla vs. Kong” (Warner Bros./$19.99), “Cruella” (Disney/$29.99), “Wrath of Man” (United Artists/$19.99) — are Premium VODs, along with the unstoppable “Nobody” (Universal/$5.99).

All four placed across the board, with “Nobody” with the highest overall ranking. Rounding out the group is the Megan Fox shackled-to-a-corpse horror entry “Till Death” (Screen Media/$6.99).

Two new entries debuted this week. “Closed for Storm” (Gravitas Ventures/$3.99), a documentary about the fate of an abandoned Six Flags amusement park in New Orleans, showed up at #7 at Google Play. “The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2” (Hidden Empire/$13.99), after three weeks in theaters, placed on both charts that rank by revenue.

Along with “Till Death,” “Werewolves Within” (IFC/$6.99), a second strong recent non-studio release, placed on three charts, including #2 at iTunes.

It doesn’t feel like a coincidence that Netflix unleashed its strongest group of original titles just as top films return to theaters. This week’s entries are typically diverse. “Fear Street Part 2 – 1978,” the middle film of this new trilogy, is #1 at the moment (“Part 1” is now at #3). Also strong are #2 “Major Grom: Plague Doctor” and #5 “How I Became a Super Hero.”

The last two titles are products of foreign producers (Russia and France, respectively). “Grom” is a latter-day vigilante story set in contemporary St. Petersburg. “Hero” involves Paris cops trying to intercept trafficking of a drug that grants ordinary people superpowers. Thierry Fremaux of Cannes may be bothered by the streamer, but for better or worse the international films they present get vastly more interest in the U.S. than the more acclaimed premieres shown on the Riviera.

1. Nobody (Universal) – $5.99

2. Werewolves Within (IFC) – $6.99

3. The Swordsman (Opus) – $0.99

4. Till Death (Screen Media) – $6.99

5. Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner Bros.) – $5.99

6. The Wrath of Man (United Artists) – $19.99

7. The Courier (Roadside Attractions) – $5.99

8. Cruella (Disney) – $29.99

9. The Dry (IFC) – $6.99

10. Lansky (Vertical) – $6.99

1. Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner Bros.) – $5.99

2. Nobody (Universal) – $5.99

3. Werewolves Within (IFC) – $6.99

4. Wrath of Man (United Artists) – $19.99

5. Demon Slayer – Mugen Train (Funimation) – $14.99

6. Till Death (Screen Media) – $6.99

7. Closed for Storm (Gravitas Ventures) – $3.99

8. A Quiet Place (Paramount) – $2.99

9. Mortal Kombat (Warner Bros.) – $ 24.99

10. Cruella (Disney) – $29.99

1. Cruella (Disney) – $29.99

2. Those Who Wish Me Dead (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

3. Spirit Untamed (Universal) – $19.99

4. Wrath of Man (United Artists) – $19.99

5. Nobody (Universal) – $5.99

6. Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner Bros.) – $5.99

7. The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 (Hidden Empire) – $13.99

8. Till Death (Screen Media) – $6.99

9. Spiral: From the Book of Saw (Lionsgate) – $19.99

10. Demon Slayer – Mugen Train (Funimation) – $14.99

1. Wrath of Man (United Artists) – $19.99

2. Nobody (Universal) – $5.99

3. Cruella (Disney) – $29.99

4. Godzilla vs. Kong (Warner Bros.) – $5.99

5. Till Death (Screen Media) – $6.99

6. Those Who Wish Me Dead (Warner Bros.) – $19.99

7. Werewolves Within (IFC) – $6.99

8. Demon Slayer – Mugen Train (Funimation) – $14.99

9. Spirit Untamed (Universal) – $19.99

10. The House Next Door: Meet the Blacks 2 (Hidden Empire) – $13.99

1. Fear Street Part 2: 1978 (2021 Netflix original)

2. Major Grom: Plague Doctor (2021 Netflix original)

3. Fear Street Part 1: 1994 (2021 Netflix original)

4. Mother’s Day (2016 theatrical release)

5. How I Became a Superhero (2021 Netflix original)

6. Kung Fu Panda (2008 theatrical release)

7. Talladega Nights (2006 theatrical release)

8. This Little Love of Mine (2021 Netflix premiere)

9. Kung Fu Panda 2 (2011 theatrical release)

10. The Ice Road (2021 Netflix original)

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'A Quiet Place, Part II' and 'Black Widow' show that theaters and streaming can coexist

CNN 14 July, 2021 - 03:29am

Updated 5:11 PM ET, Tue July 13, 2021

‘Black Widow’ Gives A Taste Of How Theaters And Streaming Can Coexist

Moneycontrol.com 13 July, 2021 - 09:49am

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There has been a lot of hand-wringing about the demise of movie theaters over the past year and a half, and for good reason. Most were closed for at least a few months during the height of the pandemic. Companies like the Walt Disney Co., NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia and Viacom have started to prioritize streaming for their films, in part to bolster subscriber interest in their own Netflix-style platforms.

Over the weekend came evidence that, at least for the biggest franchise films and with a carefully calibrated pricing strategy, theatrical distribution and streaming can coexist.

“Black Widow,” a long-delayed Marvel movie, collected about $80 million in the U.S. and Canada from Thursday night to Sunday for Disney. Overseas, the superhero movie sold an additional $78 million in tickets. That means that, in total, roughly 17 million people went to see the movie in a theater, according to Rich Greenfield, a founder of the LightShed Partners research firm. After giving theater owners their cut of ticket sales, Disney cleared about $98 million over the weekend, Greenfield calculated.

Disney also made “Black Widow” available on its Disney+ streaming service, which has more than 100 million subscribers worldwide. Subscribers could instantly watch the film (and have permanent access to it) for a $30 surcharge. Disney said Sunday that Disney+ generated about $60 million from “Black Widow” orders over the weekend. Greenfield said that figure equated to about 2 million transactions and about $48 million in revenue for Disney after streaming partners had taken their cut. (The benefit to Disney in the form of new subscribers to Disney+ is unknown; subscriptions cost $8 a month.)

There are several takeaways. “Imagine being a theater owner and realizing studios need you less and less everyday,” Greenfield wrote on Twitter. “Leverage is shifting rapidly in the streaming era toward the studios.”

On the other hand, the fact that 17 million people decided to leave their bubbles and go sit with strangers in a theater — amid rising coronavirus infections, the result of the delta variant — when they could just push a button in their living rooms is nothing to sneeze at. For now, theatrical distribution remains a major revenue generator and cannot be ignored if studios want to make money on big-budget spectacles.

“This is an extremely impressive theatrical opening,” David A. Gross, who runs Franchise Entertainment Research, a movie consultancy, said in an email. “Certainly the figure would be higher if every theater were open, if there were zero concern with Covid and if there weren’t a streaming option. For now, those impediments make the ‘Black Widow’ opening all the more impressive.”

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