The Covid-19 pandemic has affected different industries worldwide. And Hollywood is one of those industries that took a heavy hit. Many of these studios are still holding their films back, with many of them having been delayed into 2021 and are now being pushed even further into 2021 or 2022. As the global film industry loses billions of dollars as months push by and these films keep getting delayed, many have been looking at another approach to distributing such projects for the audience to see in a post-pandemic world. At the beginning of the pandemic, studios seemed to be reluctant to release the movie on a different online platform instead of a theatrical release, making it tough for them to choose the right platform to release their films. But, in times of desperation, more and more studios have started to opt for releasing their films on streaming platforms, some even going as far as making a hybrid option to release their films on theaters and streaming platforms on the same day, at no additional cost. And this has been a heavily debated topic during this past year, some calling the move bold and great for fans of these films, while others seem to think otherwise. Well now, it seems that Disney and Marvel may follow suit with the upcoming release of the Black Widow film.
According to Variety, following the slate shift Walt Disney Studios did last week and seeing how the MCU films were practically left untouched, there exists a strong possibility that Marvel Studios could be considering a hybrid release for the first film of Phase 4: Black Widow. What does this mean? Chances are they’re waiting for the release of Raya and the Last Dragon, due out on March 5th. Raya and the Last Dragon is opting for Disney’s first hybrid release, so to speak, by releasing the film in theaters and via Disney+’s Premier Access service on the same day. Depending on how the film does with that hybrid business model, there is now a real possibility that Black Widow could opt for that option as well. And with the weight that this is a Marvel Studios film, chances are that this film could make some real gains in a post-pandemic world.
The film has already been delayed twice this past year, and in any other normal case, the film could be delayed again no problem. But there is a catch and it is ultimately Marvel’s Achilles heel. By having these “Phases” into check, and by pushing the films further and further back, not only would Black Widow be delayed, but that would cause a domino effect that could shift the entire current MCU Slate back. There have been murmurs that the reasoning behind Black Widow‘s delay is due to the contract clauses that some actors have regarding this film, asking for a theatrical release rather than a full Disney+ Premier Access. So now, with this hybrid release becoming a possibility, there may exist a loophole to these clauses and there is a real chance that we could be seeing this on our devices really soon.