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The Uncomfortable Truth Behind Those ‘Black Widow’ Numbers

Scarlett Johansson, David Harbor, and Florence Pugh in a scene from Black Widow
Photo by Jay Maidment/Marvel Studios
Matthew Belloni
July 15, 2021

You’d think that Disney had neutralized the Delta variant. There were euphoric headlines this week after the studio disclosed the at-home viewing revenue for Black Widow, along with traditional opening weekend box office, and the media not only hailed the movie as a “big hit” but also declared that the disclosure of streaming numbers would “put pressure” on other studios to become more transparent. Sure, the domestic theatrical opening hit only $80 million, a pandemic-era best, yet a middling number for Marvel. But combine that number with $78 million for foreign and—get ready to bow down—$60 million in revenue from $30 “premiere access” purchases on Disney+, and the real total was almost $220 million. It’s the first modern blockbuster!