Disney CEO Bob Chapek Defends ‘Black Widow’ Disney Plus Hybrid Release

Disney CEO Bob Chapek is standing by the company’s decision to release Black Widow in both theatres and on Disney Plus.

Earlier this year, Disney made waves when they announced that Black Widow would simultaneously be released in cinemas and Disney Plus via Premiere Access for $30 USD. The decision was praised by some but criticized by others, including Scarlett Johansson, who is suing the studio for breaching her contract that stated she would receive cuts from the film’s box office.

During Disney’s latest investor call, CEO Bob Chapek defended the decision to release the film both in theatres and on Disney Plus for a premium fee. Chapek also discussed how Black Widow went on to become a box office success despite being released on Disney Plus and in cinemas.

“Last year, in light of the prolonged and unpredictable nature of a pandemic, we needed to find alternative ways to bring our movies to consumers while theaters were closed. And once they began to reopen, there was still widespread reluctance to return. Therefore we adopted a three-prong strategy for releasing our films that consisted of theatrical releases, direct to Disney+, and a hybrid of theatrical plus Premier Access, as we did with Cruella, Jungle Cruise, and Marvel’s Black Widow, the top performing film at the domestic box office since the start of a pandemic. Bob Iger and I, along with the leaders of our creative and distribution teams, determine this was the right strategy because it would enable us to reach the broadest possible audience.”

Bob Chapek continued by discussing how the Disney Plus and theatre hybrid release model will still be used in the future for select films.

“And just to reiterate, distribution decisions are made on a film-by-film basis based on a global marketplace conditions and consumer behavior. We will continue to utilize all available options going forward. Learn from insights gained with each release and innovate accordingly, but always doing what we believe is in the best interest of the film, and the best interest of our constituents.”

It seems unlikely that major releases like Marvel films will get the Disney Plus Premiere Access treatment going forward as Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is still set to hit cinemas next month.

Here is the synopsis for Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow:

In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller “Black Widow,” Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down, Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.

Directed by Cate Shortland from a script written by Eric Pearson based on a story by Jac Schaeffer and Ned Benson, the Marvel film stars Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, David Harbour, O-T Fagbenle, Ray Winstone, Olivier Richters, and Rachel Weisz.

Black Widow is out now in theatres and Disney Plus via Premier Access. Stay tuned for all the latest news surrounding the lawsuit and be sure to subscribe to Heroic Hollywood’s YouTube channel for more original video content.

Source: Disney

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