Black Widow is not dead.

Film At this point I remain convinced that in the post credit sequence of the Black Widow, Natasha Romanov is going to wake up at the bottom of the cliff on Vormir wondering how the fuck she's going to get home. I don't see how any other conclusion to that film could be anything other than a downer, especially if its a hit and they're turning it into a trilogy. 

Fortunately for those of us still under the dark shadow of the COVID-19 pandemic and sheltering at home, Disney have announced that it'll be getting a Mulan-style day and date release in July 2021 on Disney+ so that those of us who don't want to return to cinemas (assuming they're open!) can enjoy whilst sat in our own lumpy chair. 

I've long been an advocate of day and date releases, giving us audience members the choice of watching films without having to hike out to a drafty auditorium and deal with people who're treating that space as their lounge. Paying £10 to listen to someone masticate through a box of popcorn before walking just before the credits role is not fun. 

As the pandemic recedes, presumably studios will return to the theatrical model but perhaps with a slightly more relaxed attitude to how it effects the bottom line to release things for home simultaneously. Cinema chains too, who've traditionally owned release windows and such, will be in a slightly weaker position now that they know that to an extent, the studios don't need them as much. 

Back in 2016, Sean "Napster" Parker was pitching "The Screening Room", a DRM heaving special streaming box so consumers could watch films day and date for $50 a pop with revenues flowing back to cinemas, which many of us rolled our eyes at because we already had a pretty decent streaming box already.  Seems like the pandemic has forced studios to realise the same thing.

Immediately, as with Mulan, critics and fans were moaning about Disney+ charging extra for Black Widow as though its some great scheme to steal money out from under people.  I saw one goober indicate that he wouldn't be paying "because it's just a prequel and she's dead already anyway". 

But Disney isn't a charity. They're well within their rights to charge extra for Black Widow and not just throw it up on Disney+ as part of the subscription especially in territories were the cinemas, which would have been its traditional home, are closed.  Including advertising, Disney have sunk at least $300m into this thing and a cut of the subscriptions won't be enough to cover that.

Without the pandemic it would have been in cinemas a year ago and we'd all have it on shiny-disc. They waited a year in the hopes of protecting it as a theatrical experience but that hasn't worked out so they doing the next best thing and charging cinema rates.

Of course, the fairer option would be the Wonder Woman 1984 route of making it available on all the pay-per-stream services outside the Disney+ cordon and give subscribers a discount, but again they don't need to.  The MCU is a big enough brand that people will most certainly come.

Not to mention the old lobster pricing rule. Around a decade ago there was a glut of lobster available to restaurants and very cheap prices. But they kept the prices the same as they were when there was a smaller overhead in order to protect their status as a luxury item. 

I can understand why studios spending hundreds of millions of pounds on films don't want them to become essentially valueless and part of a content farm, as so much of the new material on Netflix has become, mostly uploaded without much hype unless there's some awards potential.

Just to add that I know they are putting some things like Nomadland on the service, but such things have a limited box office spotential by comparison and aren't four quadrant releases and are perfect drivers for the Star section of the service.  Although that is admittedly one film I would have gone to the cinema for.

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