Title: Black Widow
Directed By: Cate Shortland
Written By: Eric Pearson, Jac Schaeffer, Ned Benson
Release Date: July 09, 2021
Domestic Distributor: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
Cast: Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Box Office Information
- Budget: $200 Million
- Financed by: Marvel Studios
- Domestic Box Office Gross: $183,651,655
- Overseas Box Office Gross: $191,822,524
Black Widow (2021), is an American superhero movie based on the Marvel Comic character with the same name. Directed by Cate Shortland, and starring Scarlett Johansson, with a screenplay by Eric Pearson.
Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, confronts a dangerous conspiracy spun by the darker parts of her ledger.
Chased by an unstoppable force, Natasha must deal with her past as a spy and the many broken relationships left in her wake before she became an Avenger.
Lionsgate acquired the film rights to Black Widow back in 2004, but having announced David Hayter as both writer and director, the project was subsequently shelved – with the rights reverting back to Marvel Studios.
Hayter was unsuccessful in his subsequent attempts to finance the movie. Marvel Studios President, Kevin Feige, sat down with lead Scarlett Johansson in October of 2017 to discuss the direction of a solo film. The studio then began meeting with writers for the project.
Fast forward to February 2019 and Ned Benson was hired to rewrite the entire script. Eric Pearson was eventually credited as screenwriter, with both Jac Schaeffer and Benson receiving story credits.
Principle photograph began in May of 2019 in Norway – with Cate Shortland having been brought on board by an enthused Johansson. Production moved to Pinewood in early June and the movie was a wrap by the end of September.
Black Widow Box Office Numbers
With a production budget of some $200 million and a worldwide box office 1.9 times the production budget, Black Widow took $183,651,655 domestically and grossed $191,822,524 overseas at the box office.
Black Widow played to 4,160 theatres and took $80,366,312 (43.8% of total gross) in its opening weekend.
The film played to a total of 4,275 theatres domestically and took a domestic share of some 48.9%.
Having ranked first in its opening weekend, Black Widow dropped to second in its second weekend – running for a total of 16 weeks, with an average weekend domestic gross of $11,478,228 based on a 6.0 weeks average run per theatre.
Black Widow was released to a total of 29 countries internationally, with the main markets being the United Kingdom, with a lifetime gross of $25,571,420, South Korea, with a lifetime gross of $25,485,196, and France, lifetime gross of $15,133,000.
It’s a Wrap
Black Widow is currently the third-highest-grossing film of 2021 in the United States. So you have to wonder what it’s doing on this website at all? Stay tuned.
Whilst other analysts talk of strong Premier Access figures, and the Disney stock price bounce – that’s not enough to pull it out of the red. Here’s why.
The worldwide gross for Black Widow across all markets is some $375,474,179. That’s just short of its two-times production budget for starters. In relative terms, Black Widow had the highest domestic monthly earnings (including the biggest Fri-Sun debut) since Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker ($173 million) in December 2019.
Granted these are reasonable numbers for a film limping through the Autumn of a global pandemic – but they still don’t stack up. With second-weekend earnings seeing a 69% plunge – almost unheard of for a Marvel film.
After only a month in theatres, and to Johansson’s apparent consternation, the Mouse House changed the release strategy and went to dual-streaming. This prompted Johansson to sue Disney on account of the fact that Disney had apparently guaranteed an exclusive theatrical release. The suit is now settled.
This kind of front-loading, however, negatively impacts theatre receipts and inevitably hits longer-term profitability as well. In the face of rampant piracy, you simply have to wonder if those early Disney+ dollars were even worth it?
With the streaming numbers not being disclosed, a rough guestimate in the region of $80 million in Disney+ purchases (of which Disney receives 85%) would probably not be too far off the mark. So, added to the worldwide theatrical box office that gives a grand total of $443,474,179.
All said and done, that puts Black Widow in the range of ‘to be expected’ given the covid times – and at the lower end of recent MCU movies. Taking the ancillary costs into account, and after deducting theatre commissions – it is unlikely that any significant pot was returned to Disney.
Overall Black Widow posted relatively strong numbers in the context of the times and the global pandemic. Whilst not being a big earner for Disney it was something of a positive uptick for the film industry and theatre-goers in general.