The next instalment of the Marvel cinematic universe – Black Widow – will remain as a theatrical exclusive Disney confirms, at least for now.

One of the most interesting aspects of Natasha Romanoff’s character in the Disney-owned Marvel Cinematic Universe movies is that she has ‘red in her ledger’, a morally compromised backstory that she feels compelled to redeem through sacrifice and heroism. Whilst it might make Romanoff, played by Scarlett Johansson, one of the most interesting Avengers, Disney – Marvel’s parent company of course – is keen to avoid any red in its own ledger when it comes to the release of Black Widow, the character’s solo film.

As such, it’s been confirmed that in the wake of Mulan’s startling shift to a dual release in cinemas and on premium video-on-demand (via Disney+), the $200 million MCU blockbuster will not be following suit and its release will be exclusive to cinemas. This  statement was made by Disney CEO, Bob Chapek, who called the plan to release Mulan in cinema markets (that are open and able to do so) whilst also offering the film at a $30 price point on streaming service, Disney+, a ‘one-off’.

Chapek’s comments were made during an investor’s conference, but we suspect were also aimed towards worried exhibitors who have long dreaded the moment when Disney, source of so many box office hits and dollars (over $13 billion of them last year alone!) might take its films and experiment with a release strategy that squeezed cinemas out of the equation. The announcement that Black Widow will receive an exclusive theatrical release may appease cinema owner associations to some degree, but everybody will be watching the Mulan release carefully. If it’s a success, and we suspect it might do pretty well with this dual release, Disney’s plans could most definitely change.

Originally scheduled for a May 2020 release, Black Widow is currently slated for a November release. With a second wave of Covid-19 on the cards in Europe though, and U.S. states struggling to contain their first wave,  it’s likely that Disney may well re-evaluate its decision depending on Mulan‘s performance.

Black Widow is also an important release as it may, in the grand, synergistic MCU tradition, act as a springboard for the upcoming Disney+ shows such as The Falcon & The Winter Soldier and WandaVision, although those shows have also been delayed.

This story will certainly continue to roll. More news as we have it.

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