The Coronavirus pandemic has shaken the theatrical industry to its very core, and the box office is still a long way away from recovering. Almost eighteen months have passed since the world was changed irrevocably, and only three Hollywood blockbusters have managed to earn in excess of $400 million globally since end of 2019.
Bad Boys for Life had the benefit of arriving in January, but since the COVID-19 era began, only Godzilla vs. Kong and Fast & Furious 9 have managed to hit those heights, with the ninth chapter in The Fast Saga way out in front with over $620 million and counting. Thanks to a Disney Plus Premier Access release, the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Black Widow realistically didn’t stand a chance of matching the franchise’s usual numbers, but it’s still resulted in star Scarlett Johansson filing a lawsuit against her paymasters.
We’re now hearing from our sources – the same ones who told us Luke Skywalker was returning to Star Wars long before The Mandalorian‘s Season 2 finale – that Johansson was reportedly of the belief that Black Widow could have reached the fabled billion-dollar mark if it wasn’t for the pandemic and Premier Access.
Looking at the facts, though, it seems unlikely. Black Panther, Captain Marvel and Spider-Man: Far From Home are the only MCU movies to reach a billion that didn’t feature Tony Stark, and the latter two had the added bonus of arriving on either side of Avengers: Endgame, one of the most hotly-anticipated titles in history.
Would Black Widow have made a ton of money were it to hit theaters during certain and precedented times? Absolutely, but even for one of the MCU’s most popular characters, a billion is a bit of a stretch.