Anyone who thought that releasing simultaneously on Disney Plus Premier Access would affect Black Widow‘s chances of box office success look to be mistaken. The first feature-length installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe to hit theaters in the past two years is pulling in the sort of Thursday night preview numbers that most blockbusters would kill for, even without the lingering effects of a global pandemic holding the industry back from returning to its fullest potential.
Scarlett Johansson’s solo effort has long been touted to smash all pandemic-era records that had been set by Fast & Furious 9 just a couple of weeks ago, and it’s already off to a phenomenal start. Black Widow scored a massive $13.2 million from Thursday preview screenings, obliterating the $7.1 million brought in by the ninth outing for Dominic Toretto and the gang.
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To put that into perspective, even with the shadow of COVID-19 continuing to loom in the background, Black Widow‘s Thursday haul isn’t too far behind the $15.4 million and $14.5 million brought in by Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok respectively. Not only that, but it’s well ahead of other MCU and superhero titles including the two Ant-Man movies, Guardians of the Galaxy and Wonder Woman, which is incredible given both the pandemic and the fact it’s also available to watch from the comfort of your own home at the push of a button for a $30 fee.
Buoyed by a strong international bow, analysts are now predicting that Black Widow could wind up with a global opening weekend well in excess of $150 million, with virtually every domestic benchmark set by F9 poised to fall by the end of the weekend. It would be completely fitting if the return of the world’s biggest franchise marked the true resurgence of the theatrical industry after such an extended slump.