Disney Investor Pushing for Disney+ Debuts for Big Films Like Black Widow
Last month, Black Widow was among the many high-profile film releases that were pushed back to 2021 due to the ongoing pandemic that has still been affecting theater chains around the world. To some people, Disney made the right call to make the delays while others including Disney investor Dan Loeb think that the company should have just foregone its planned theatrical releases and move them to streaming instead
Speaking with Variety, Loeb believes that tentpole projects like Black Widow would immediately give Disney+ the upper hand on their streaming competitors such as Netflix. Should the House of Mouse really consider this move, it would definitely attract subscribers and generate them more profit, especially if they would use the Premium Access strategy that they’ve first applied to the release of the live-action Mulan.
“My understanding is that the old-line executives don’t want to go over the top with their big tentpole movies, which is why they announced they were pushing ‘Black Widow” and other movies to 2021,” Loeb said. “I don’t think they appreciate the tiger they have by the tail, which is to say the value they can drive by moving into a subscription model, which has been adopted by everyone from Microsoft to Amazon. It’s so value accretive.”
“What Netflix has is this immense subscriber base that allows it to invest in an enormous amount of content and amortize that to get more subscribers,” Loeb continued. “Disney isn’t there yet, but they need to get there as quickly as possible. If they don’t get critical mass in their subscriber base, they will be permanently disadvantaged versus Netflix.”
However, the main problem with this move-to-streaming strategy is that theater chains would be immensely affected and betrayed by this decision, especially when it has already been hard for them to keep their businesses afloat during this time.
In Black Widow, Scarlett Johansson returns as Natasha Romanoff, a spy, and assassin who grew up being trained by the KGB before breaking from their grasp and becoming an agent of SHIELD and an Avenger. The film is expected to be set after the events of Captain America: Civil War, but before Avengers: Infinity War.
Black Widow will also feature a star-studded cast including Golden Globe nominee David Harbour (Stranger Things, Hellboy) as Alexei aka The Red Guardian, Florence Pugh (Fighting with My Family) as Yelena Belova, Academy Award-winning actress Rachel Weisz (The Favourite) as Melina and O-T Fagbenle (The Handmaid’s Tale) as Mason.
The movie was directed by Cate Shortland (Lore) from a script written by Jac Schaeffer (The Hustle). Black Widow is set to release on May 7, 2021, which will be a year later since its original release date.