Disney set some interesting new precedent this weekend when it comes to reporting “box office” grosses of their streaming content, as they seemed compelled to note the financial success of Marvel’s Black Widow while also pointing out that its weekend total had surpassed F9 from a few weeks ago. They’re saying that Black Widow made a total of $80 million domestic and $78 million internationally over this opening weekend—the highest of any film since Rise of Skywalker pre-pandemic—but the really intriguing number is their claim, via press release, that $60 million of the domestic total is from households purchasing the film via Disney+’s Premier Access.
To date, Disney has elected not to share any data on purchase numbers for other prominent Disney+ Premier Access films, such as Mulan, Raya and the Last Dragon and Cruella. It’s been impossible to know what kind of revenue those movies are generating for the company in the premiumized tier of streaming, or even what kinds of numbers would be considered a success. A single weekend bringing in $60 million for Black Widow, however, would be huge, and it can’t help but make one wonder if we’re getting accurate information from Disney. If accurate, however, this would be adoption of premium pricing on new-release, home-streamed movies on a scale that dwarfs anything we’ve seen before.
Do the quick back-of-napkin math, and it works out to 2 million U.S. households/Disney+ accounts that each paid the $30 fee to rent the movie in Premier Access this weekend. That is a big precedent, and it shows either incredibly pent-up demand for a return to the Marvel Cinematic Universe after all this time, or it shows Disney playing fast and loose with these numbers.
Regardless, the precedent has now been set when it comes to Disney reporting on the relative success of big releases on Premier Access. That will make the simultaneous release of something like Jungle Cruise in theaters/Premier Access on July 30, 2021 more interesting, because the question will be if that film can replicate these kinds of numbers and whether Disney will choose to report the numbers if it doesn’t. We wouldn’t hold our breathes.
As for the MCU’s drawing power, though, this Black Widow result is evidence that it’s still as titanic as ever.