Movie Theaters Upset with Decision to Stream Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” on Disney+ Premier Access

Following the announcement that Marvel Studios’ Black Widow will be released both in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access on July 9th, theater owners became upset with the decision and now the Chief Executive of AMC Theatres is speaking out.

Black Widow‘s release was pushed back to July 2021 from May 2020 as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, making it one of the summer’s most anticipated movies. The latest Marvel film will also be released on Disney+ Premier Access for a one-time fee of $30 on the same day it’s released in theaters.

According to The Wall Street Journal, theater owners want to secure better terms from Disney, such as a higher share of box-office revenue or a chance to show Black Widow exclusively due to the release decision. However, the ability to fight the company might be undercut by the need to bring moviegoers back into theater seats after long closures and limited capacities.

Some theater owners were already left fuming over Disney’s decision to release Raya and the Last Dragon in theaters and on Disney+ last month, and now the Black Widow decision adds more fuel to the fire.

AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. Chief Executive Adam Aron spoke out in regard to the Disney+ release of Black Widow, “We haven’t made any threats [but] it is widely known that AMC has threatened not to play movies if we could not find business terms that we found acceptable.”

Aron is referring to when AMC Theatres refused to show Universal films in the wake of the on-demand release of Trolls: World Tour last year, stating that “This policy is not aimed solely at Universal out of pique or to be punitive in any way, it also extends to any movie maker who unilaterally abandons current windowing practices absent good faith negotiations between us, so that they as distributor and we as exhibitor both benefit and neither are hurt from such changes.” This led to a multi-year deal between the two parties, including AMC Theatres receiving a percentage of revenues from digital releases.

These tensions highlight the changing dynamics between film studios and theaters as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed some cinema chains into bankruptcy, and as consumers and studios turned to streaming entertainment at home. Disney+ has recently reached the milestone of 100 million subscribers, and the number will keep growing as more content is added to the streaming platform.

Source: The Wall Street Journal

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Kathy
Kathy
6 months ago

I will never pay $30 to see a movie on tv. Disney can stuff it. I also don’t consider something only streamed a proper movie. If not for Covid, I wouldn’t have voted for the SAG Award “movies” I was forced to vote for.

zachary
6 months ago

at least the film is still getting a theatrical realise, the pixar film luca on the other hand is being rob of its theatrical realise and only being shown on disney+, if you ask me people should be fighting to give that film a theatrical relise

Paul
Paul
6 months ago

I do feel very badly for the movie theaters, But, I think they need to fully accept the fact that the market is changing. It started before COVID-19, but the pandemic pushed it forward dramatically. It’s similar to what happened with network TV and cable; the networks had to somewhat reinvent themselves to compete. The movie theaters are going to have to do the same. Not sure what that would have to be, but they need a disruptive approach to find and expand their future markets.

Liam
6 months ago

Movie theaters have nothing to worry about. We’d rather pay 15 dollars each plus the cost of popcorn and drinks than pay 40 dollars for a movie we’d probably only watch once.

Bob
Bob
6 months ago
Reply to  Liam

Not sure why you’d have to pay $40 for streaming when nobody’s charging that much.

Dr. Trout
Dr. Trout
4 months ago

Once we saw that the combined two-person price for seeing Cruella was $25 at the local movie theater, paying $32 for seeing it at home was a pretty easy decision. No 20 minutes of previews, no gas used, pausing for bathroom breaks, rewinding to see key moments again. Multiple watches available. Sadly, the movie theaters are going to need to become more competitive. Get rid of all the previews would be a good start, and lower the ticket price.