‘Black Widow’ Pondering Release Date Move; ‘Soul’ Could Still Stay Theatrical

Movies

Not everyone is ready to go back to theater, and it’s going to take a long time before moviegoers are comfortable. Warner Bros.’ domestic box office for Tenet, which only made $6.7M in its second stateside weekend (technically 3rd) is an indicator of this, of course, with New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco closures being a further stumbling block.

As such, exhibition sources tell us that Disney is pondering a theatrical release date move for Black Widow off its Nov. 6 date. There’s no concrete idea of where it goes, whether its somewhere in December or next year yet. It could easily move to Marvel’s The Eternals release date of Feb. 12 next year.

Also, as we told you last week, there was loose talk that Soul would go to Disney+. I’m hearing that’s not definite, and there’s a chance the Pixar release could still stay theatrical. Disney recently put intended theatrical release Mulan on Disney+ in territories that had the service, and on the big screen in areas that didn’t have the streaming service. There’s no official data from the studio about how successful that was. Mulan grossed $37.6M overseas, $23.2M from a No. 1 rank in China, but that’s a low wattage result from the Middle Kingdom, an area that was expected to be a boom area for the Niki Caro movie.

At the end of the day, it’s just more bad news for exhibition. Here, they’ve taken the muscle to reopen, and the studios are vacating the calendar left and right, removing marquee product. Understandably, tentpoles need the wattage of media and marketing capitals NY and LA to shine, but there should be at least a backfill of smaller films to at least bring in some cash.

According to a recent NRG poll, 51% of moviegoers are comfortable or somewhat comfortable about returning to the theater during the pandemic — a number that has spiked from the 20-30% in recent weeks. However, 49% are still uncomfortable. Another hurdle — only 41% of all potential moviegoers know that their local theater is open.

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