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Hybrid Movie Releases: Marvel’s Black Widow Delivers At The Box Office & Via Streaming

Hybrid Movie Releases: Marvel’s Black Widow Delivers At The Box Office & Via Streaming!

Marvel’s Black Widow has received a positive critical reception, but perhaps more tellingly, it has also wowed at the box office and simultaneously on streaming! One week on from release and the movie has grossed $173m worldwide already, including just under $100m in the USA. Simultaneously though, Disney+ reported an additional $60m+ in global streaming revenues.


Ever since the advent of streaming cinema chains have protested against streaming as a massive cannibalistic factor which threatens their viability. Could Black Widow be the movie which shows that streaming can be an incremental opportunity for movie studios to recoup more money back against the hefty production costs they incur to produce films? It’s maybe too early to reach that conclusion, in a month or two we’ll have a fuller picture of what Black Widow has delivered, but at the very least Black Widow has proved a number of points.

Firstly, that a Marvel movie based on a story about a female lead character can smash the box office, just like Black Panther proved that a movie focused primarily on people of colour could be a $billion+ movie. Secondly, cinema is back – albeit different and not in all places, but cinema as a major commercial force is back. Thirdly, it is possible to release movies simultaneously in movie theatres and to streaming and not to annihilate the box office takings. Perhaps the cannibalistic effect will come later after those real cinema devotees have been to see the movie. Perhaps streaming will capture some of the casual movie goers, but in reality we suspect that what is more likely is that streaming will have only a marginal impact on cinema attendance. Our analysis suggests that simultaneous release – the hybrid model, whereby cinemas and streaming go live at the same time – will just increase consumption.

From the perspective of the toy industry, it will be interesting to see if Black Widow sees a big toy success and creates out of stocks on key lines. But from a broader perspective, one of the biggest media driving toy sales seems to be heading successfully towards a hybrid distribution method which promises to future proof toy demand both in terms of any resurgence of COVID-19 but also in terms of any future crises affecting mankind.


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