Black Widow kicked off to a great start in the U.S. Box Office. It could even keep up with pre-pandemic releases and is eyeing a potential 100M+ weekend even though it was made available through Disney+ Premier Access. Yet, what is not helping the film’s current release is a delayed-release in China. Even though it has gotten approved by Chinese authorities, it still has no set release. This case wouldn’t be much of an issue, but Disney’s streaming service isn’t available in the country. So, they can’t bank on people buying it through Premier Access. The only real option for Chinese viewers is piracy, which will hurt its Box Office potential.
There doesn’t seem to be a reason why the release wasn’t time with the West. Their local business has been suffering, and July is also usually kept solely for Chinese productions. This year will see the 100th anniversary of the Communist Party’s founding. It has also led to an additional layer of censorship. So, the delay might be a result due to these political developments. It might even put a release in question.
So, what are people to do? Well, they can pirate an HD version of the film that is made available through Premier Acess. So, even if the film releases there, most people might’ve already watched it by then. It’s a well-known issue, and companies take it into account with many Western releases. Marvel Studios is already facing troubles with the release of Shang-Chi and the Legends of the Ten Rings due to distrust created through Mulan and local beauty standards. Eternals is also uncertain due to Chloé Zhao openly criticizing the ruling party. As such, it’s uncertain if the production studio and Disney can truly bank on the Chinese Box Office moving forward.