The upcoming release calendar is still shrouded in uncertainty with the vast majority of theaters remaining closed, although there might finally be some light at the end of the tunnel as titles like Vin Diesel’s Bloodshot head back for a second run to see if there’s much appetite for audiences to return to the big screen, even to see a movie that’s been on digital for over five months.
2020 has been a year unlike any other for Hollywood, and despite the severe lack of content bringing the theatrical industry to a standstill, Disney have still managed to upset a lot of people by pulling Mulan from the schedule entirely and making it available exclusively on their in-house streaming service for a one-off fee.
You can understand why theater owners are so upset by this, because they’ll be losing out on a huge amount of revenue from what was once seen as a lock to become one of the year’s highest-grossing blockbusters, with Disney keeping all of the profits to themselves and no doubt driving up subscription numbers in the process.
The studio might have said that Mulan was a special case and they wouldn’t be adopting a similar model for the rest of their delayed releases, but there’s been near-constant speculation that if things haven’t returned to normal by November, then Black Widow could also end up heading straight to streaming.
A recent poll asked people if they would be happy seeing the latest installment in the MCU at home, and 87% of them said they’d be content to watch it for the first time on the small screen instead of heading out to the movies. Of that 87%, 32% said they wanted to see Black Widow as soon as possible at home, while 55% said they’d prefer to see it at their local theater first.
Of course, it remains to be seen what’ll happen, but the longer this shutdown continues, the more likely it is that Black Widow could be heading exclusively to Disney Plus, and if this becomes a regular occurrence, then the theatrical industry has virtually no chance of a full-scale return to normal operations.