With the COVID-19 pandemic ongoing around the world and Hollywood continuing to delay its biggest blockbusters, most assumed Marvel and Disney were preparing Black Widow for the same fate.
The film has been delayed multiple times already from its initially planned May 2020 release. The film was originally pushed into Eternals November 2020 slot with every Marvel film pushing forward. However, as the pandemic continued, Black Widow and every other Marvel film then pushed into 2021, leaving 2020 as the first MCU-free year.
Despite previous rumors, it now seems the film is set to drop soon in its planned May release date, almost a year after its original date...
BLACK WIDOW TARGETING SUMMER RELEASE IN ASIA
Chinese box office analyst Gavin Feng shared a rumor via Twitter that Black Widow is aiming for an April 30 release date in China, yet there's still "no official word." on the matter:
The Asian market has become a critical one for box office success in recent years, now making up a major share of a movie's gross income.
Disney targeting an April release date in China suggests they are expecting to be able to release worldwide in the summer as planned with no further delays.
BLACK WIDOW ON TRACK TO RELEASE NEXT MONTH?
Despite the COVID-19 vaccine rollout, many theaters around the world — and particularly in the U.S. — are still closed to audiences. After a full year of delays, the scheduling of international releases could suggest the studio is preparing to release Black Widow either way.
Disney has already begun Phase 4 of the MCU with WandaVision on Disney+. It's possible the series' connections into the wider universe may require Black Widow and other films to release at a specific point in the chronology.
The upcoming Loki series was recently slated for a June 11 release date, leaving a substantial gap after The Falcon and the Winter Soldier likely releases its sixth and final episode on April 23. Marvel and Disney could be aiming to leave a gap between the series' to allow the focus to remain on Black Widow for several weeks. A similar move was made with Star Wars in 2019 in leaving a larger gap between episodes of The Mandalorian for the Rise of the Skywalker release.
The new Premier Access feature on Disney+ has allowed the studio to release several films directly onto the service at an additional charge to help recoup costs, a model the upcoming Marvel epic could follow.
This year, Warner Bros. opted to release all its films — including several DC superhero blockbusters — onto HBO Max alongside a theater release where possible. While this decision would be unlikely to yield the billion-dollar potential of Black Widow, it would allow them to push forward with the MCU as the world begins to reopen.
However, this isn't the first time international release dates have been scheduled for this film, so it's possible it could be delayed once again. It's believed Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige is reportedly strongly in favor of a theatrical release, but the decision will likely come down to the Disney executives.
Black Widow is currently slated for a theatrical release in the United States on May 7, 2021.