‘Black Widow’ soars to pandemic box office record

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(AP) – Even with the option to watch “Black Widow” at home, audiences flocked to the theaters in pandemic record numbers this weekend to see the first Marvel movie released in two years.

The Walt Disney Co. said on Sunday that the photo of the superhero generated around $ 80 million in ticket sales in North America. Combined with $ 78 million from international theaters and at least $ 60 million from Disney + Premier Access rentals, “Black Widow” grossed over $ 215 million in its first weekend. The studio said it was the biggest national opening weekend since the start of “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in 2019, before the pandemic.

This is a massive victory for cinema in the age of the coronavirus. In North America, the previous pandemic record holder was Universal’s “F9”, which debuted at $ 70 million a few weeks ago. But unlike “Black Widow,” which airs on 4,100 screens, the ninth “Fast & Furious” movie was exclusively in theaters.

“It was a pretty monumental weekend for the industry,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “’Black Widow’ performed well on both large and small screens. And that actually reinforces the case of movie theaters. “

Dergarabedian noted that the vast majority of the profit, $ 158.8 million, came from theaters. About $ 12 million also came from IMAX screens.

“Hollywood blockbusters continue to gain traction at the box office with each successive release, and this bodes very well for the many films slated for an exclusive worldwide theatrical release this fall and beyond,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of ‘IMAX.

“Black Widow”, starring Scarlett Johansson, has taken a long trip to the movies. Originally slated for release in May 2020, the blockbuster has been delayed due to the pandemic. Disney ultimately decided to release it “day and date,” meaning it was released on more than one platform at the same time. “Black Widow”, in theaters and for a $ 30 rental on its Disney + subscription streaming service. While this isn’t unprecedented for pandemic film releases, or even for Disney, which has done the same for “Cruella,” this is the first Marvel film to attempt the hybrid strategy. And this is by far the biggest income to date.

It is unusual for studios to unleash the profits generated by streaming in real time. Many never do, and some publish numbers weeks after the fact.

“The strong performance of ‘Black Widow’ this weekend confirms our flexible distribution strategy of making franchise films available in theaters for a true cinematic experience and, as COVID issues continue around the world, to provide choice for consumers who prefer to watch at home on Disney +, ”said Kareem Daniel, president of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution, in a statement.

The film was praised by audiences, who awarded it a CinemaScore A-minus, and critics. “Black Widow” currently has a positive rating of 80% on Rotten Tomatoes. Men made up about 58% of the opening weekend crowd.

“F9” came in second with an estimated $ 10.8 million, bringing its national total to $ 140.8 million in its third weekend in North America. Overall it grossed $ 541.8 million. Universal also took third and fourth places with the animated sequel “The Boss Baby: Family Business”, which added $ 8.7 million, and the horror “The Forever Purge”, with $ 6.7 million. “A Quiet Place Part II” rounds out the top five with $ 3 million.

Currently, 81% of North American theaters are open and most are operating at full capacity. Overall, this weekend’s movies grossed a total of $ 117 million. This is the first time since the start of the pandemic that a movie weekend has exceeded $ 100 million.

And while this holds promise for the industry as a whole, Marvel movies have always been in a category of their own. Overall, they brought in almost $ 23 billion.

“The Marvel movies are a unique monster,” Dergarabedian said. “I don’t know if you’ll see this for every version. “

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Estimated Friday-Sunday ticket sales at US and Canadian theaters, according to Comscore. Final national figures will be released on Monday.

1. “Black Widow”, $ 80 million.

2. “F9”, $ 10.9 million.

3. “The Boss Baby: Family Business”, $ 8.7 million.

4. “The Purge Forever”, $ 6.7 million.

5. “A Quiet Place, Part II”, $ 3 million.

6. “Cruella”, $ 2.2 million.

7. “The bodyguard of the hitman’s wife”, $ 1.6 million.

8. “Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway”, $ 1.3 million.

9. “In the Heights”, $ 630,000.

10. “Zola”, $ 620,000.

Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.


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