Yesterday’s announcement by Disney of not just the box-office numbers but Disney+ Premier Access revenue for the opening weekend of Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” has sent shockwaves throughout the industry.
This marked the first time the Mouse House has revealed such numbers and only the second time any premium video-on-demand (PVOD) title has released figures – the other being over a year ago when NBCUniversal chief Jeff Shell revealed “Trolls: World Tour” had earned more than $100 million.
Otherwise, revenue-generating viewership numbers have been kept under wraps by major studios who’ve staked claims in PVOD waters. The move now puts the pressure on to reveal such information going forward with other releases, lest it looks like the studio is trying to hide a flop.
The “Black Widow” results meanwhile are being thoroughly analysed. At $30 for the premier access fee, it would appear just over 2 million of the 103 million global subscribers of Disney+ forked over extra to watch “Black Widow” on opening weekend.
Disney had indicated that the majority of those who did were U.S. based, a claim that has been seemingly verified by third-party analytics firm Samba Analytics. They revealed that approximately 1.1 million of their sample of 3 million users tuned into “Black Widow” over the weekend.
Kelly Day, who overseas the Paramount+ service, says the numbers show that continued experimentation with theatrical windows is going to happen. She tells Deadline at Cannes: “The success this weekend of Black Widow on both the theatrical and on the streaming side speaks to not only the complexity of navigating these windows but also the opportunity. There is still an incredible opportunity for people who want to sit in the movie theater and have that experience, but also people who want to have the experience at home.”
The market has shown excitement for a streaming future as shares of publicly traded movie chains like AMC and Cinemark fell sharply Monday while Disney stock was up over 4%.
Part of the issue with the box-office is despite the uptake of vaccinations in the U.S. and U.K., many countries around the world are still very much gripped by the pandemic and the rapid-spreading Delta variant is causing lockdowns in numerous countries across the globe. Venues in the U.S. and Canada also remain shut for moviegoing at this time.
Meanwhile PricewaterhouseCoopers has announced its annual Global Entertainment & Media Outlook report (via THR) which forecasts streaming to reach $94 billion by the end of 2025 (up 60%).
The report also suggests the global cinema industry faces a slow return to pre-pandemic levels, one that will take several years due to lingering reticence, the pandemic-induced global recession and shifts in consumer mindset and behavior. They say in their summary that they are “not forecasting cinema returning to 2019 revenue levels until 2024”.
PwC estimates global box office revenue fell from $40.7 billion in 2019 to $11.8 billion in 2020. They expect that will grow to $23.0 billion this year and climb back up to $41.6 billion in 2024 with the U.S. domestic market not reaching close to its 2019 levels until around 2025.