Fans shouldn't be too suprised by this news. Especially after other blockbusters delayed their own releases like Fast & Furious 9 and Disney's own Mulan. In addition to practically every single movie and television halting filming and production due to the virus. Now, Variety is reporting that Disney has finally, as many anticipated, pushed back the release of Black Widow due to the coronavirus.
Black Widow will not be released on its intended May 1 release and has been delayed just like other Disney releases like Mulan, The New Mutants and Antlers. However, Disney has not determined a new release date at this time. This would make 2020 the first year since 2009 that a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie was not released in late-April or early-May.
WHAT THIS MEANS
When Disney will release Black Widow now can only be guessed, but it would have to be, at minimum, in June when AMC will reportedly reopen its theaters. Even then, the coronovirus will likely still be present in North America by that time.
There have already been numerous other reports about studios releasing their movies on video-on-demand servies, like Birds of Prey or many of Universal's recent releases. But, fans shouldn't anticipate Disney to do the same with Black Widow and release it on Disney+, since that service is not yet globally available. Not to mention that for many of these releases, they will have already played in theaters for several weeks or will play in theaters alongside the VOD release.
Another concern about this delay is its potential to cause a domino effect on the entire current MCU schedule. Since Black Widow is delayed, will this mean that The Eternals will have to be delayed too? The two 2020 films releasing too close together could result in less-than-stellar performances from both of them at the box office, especially with every other blockbuster delaying their releases. It's doubtful that fans will lose enthusiasm for Black Widow, considering its previous box office trackings, but it does make it more unpredictable.
The MCU's forthcoming Disney+ shows are reported to be very intertwined with their MCU movie counterparts, so this delay could cause some concern for the August 2020 release of The Falcon and the Winter Soldier. These are indeed confusing and concerning times, but Disney is sure to have plans for how to get through this, while keeping fans (and Disney shareholders) happy.