The world is changing, and everyone is going to need to adapt to a new reality. Marvel fans included. With movie theaters around the world closed and no light at the end of the tunnel, Hollywood studios have begun releasing their recent (or in some cases still in theaters) releases via digital VOD in order to make money when they otherwise couldn’t due to the closures. Disney recently released their $200M Pixar movie Onward this way, and this past week they put out their last remaining 2020 releases such as Call of the Wild. Now they’re sitting on six movies that can’t make any money, and it appears they’re exploring options for those.
Last night, Beyond the Trailer’s Grace Randolph Tweeted that she heard there are discussions to bring Black Widow and Mulan to digital purchase/rental (likely similar to what Disney just did with Onward). Unlike Oscorp in Far From Home or Black Mask’s dick pics in Birds of Prey, she’s onto something here as it has been floated for a little over a week:
So I did some digging with all the chatter today, and apparently #Disney IS considering releasing not just #BlackWidow but also #Mulan straight to streaming.— Grace Randolph (@GraceRandolph) March 28, 2020
Price points, purchase vs rental, when to #DisneyPlus all still up in the air.
She responded to one angry person who asked why they’d do this that Disney needs to make money, and that’s completely what’s driving this decision if it happens. Right now all of Disney’s theme parks around the world are closed (which will cause them to lose over $3 billion), their cruise line is shut down, most retail is closed (meaning their merchandise can’t sell), and most importantly; movie theaters are closed with no word on when they’ll reopen and when the general public will be willing to sit in a small enclosed auditorium with a crowd of strangers. Disney is hurt so much from the pandemic they just made a $6 billion debt offering.
Supporters on the MCU Cosmic Patreon have known a little bit more detail on this as I broke it down for them last week. As Grace says in another Tweet, there are a lot of moving parts to this. They’ve debated a lot of different ways to do it. One idea was to offer an optional higher-tier subscription to Disney+ to access the day-and-date movies, but it’s possible they’re looking more at what they did with Onward as a way to go with this.
Just look at the replies to her Tweet and you’ll see anonymous people saying that Natasha deserves to be on the big screen. They’ll go after this story once it’s posted too. But the reality of the situation is the world is suffering from a global pandemic, no one knows when movie theaters will be open again or viable for a blockbuster again, and Disney is sitting on finished movies with only one avenue to release them. There’s a real possibility that due to social distancing and fears over a virus that won’t have a vaccine for over a year that movies could lose a lot of money if theaters ever reopen. Does Natasha deserve to be on the big screen if the movie “bombs”?
Again the whole situation in fluid with so many moving parts it can change from minute-to-minute. But some fans really need to understand that things aren’t going to magically get back to normal anytime soon and Disney isn’t going to sit on a movie for over a year just because anonymous fans on social media demand it be released the way they want it to be. Fans have to prepare themselves for the new reality that we’re living in where we might not see Black Widow premiere on the big screen…