Marvel's Black Widow scores biggest opening weekend at US box office since pandemic
The superhero film starring Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh had a global box office haul of US$158 million in its first weekend.
Disney and Marvel's superhero adventure Black Widow captured a massive US$80 million (S$108 million) in its first weekend, crushing the benchmark for the biggest opening weekend since the pandemic.
In a first for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the film opened simultaneously in theatres and on Disney Plus as part of the streaming service's Premier Access offering, where subscribers can rent Black Widow for an extra S$38.98. Disney reported that Black Widow generated more than US$60 million "in Disney Plus Premier Access consumer spend globally", marking the rare occasion in which a studio discloses revenues for digital rentals. Overseas, Black Widow collected US$78 million in its debut, boosting its global box office haul to US$158 million.
Disney didn't share viewership data for the previously released Cruella starring Emma Stone and the animated Raya And The Last Dragon, which also premiered simultaneously in theatres and on Disney Plus. It's unclear if Disney will continue to report digital rentals for the upcoming action adventure Jungle Cruise, which opens in cinemas and on Disney Plus on Jul 30.
In a statement on Sunday (Jul 11) morning, Disney's media and entertainment distribution chairman Kareem Daniel said, "Black Widow's strong performance this weekend affirms our flexible distribution strategy of making franchise films available in theatres for a true cinematic experience and, as COVID concerns continue globally, providing choice to consumers who prefer to watch at home on Disney Plus."
After a brutal year and change for the movie theatre business, the performance of Black Widow is encouraging to Hollywood and film exhibitors alike. David A Gross, who runs the movie consulting firm Franchise Entertainment Research, says Marvel remains in a league of its own at the box office. After all, few film franchises would still be able to galvanise audiences 24 films in.
"Certainly the figure would be higher if every theatre were open, if there were zero concern with COVID, and if there weren't a streaming option," Gross says. "For now, those impediments make Black Widow's opening all the more impressive."
Universal's F9: The Fast Saga came in a distant second place with US$10.8 million. Since it released on the big screen three weeks ago, the action sequel starring Vin Diesel has generated US$141 million in North America. At the international box office, F9 crossed the US$400 million mark, boosting its global total to US$541.8 million.
Universal also took third and fourth place on US box office charts with Boss Baby: Family Business (US$8.7 million) and The Forever Purge (US$6.7 million). The Boss Baby sequel and the most recent Purge installment each opened theatrically over the Jul 4 holiday weekend and have now collected US$34.7 million and US$27.4 million, respectively.
Paramount's A Quiet Place Part II took the fifth spot with US$3 million, pushing its domestic tally to US$150 million, the biggest result yet for a movie released during the pandemic.