When Black Widow opened in both theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access 10 days ago it was a strong performer in the context of pandemic reopening. The Disney+ numbers also told a story, with 100% of the $60 million revenue going straight back to Disney.

The presence of the Disney+ option has clearly impacted longer tail box-office at theaters as those not motivated enough to get out and view the movie opening weekend are unlikely to be rushing to a theater when there is a home viewing option. This was born out by a 67% drop in Black Widow second weekend domestic haul to $26.5 million in theaters. This is the sharpest second-week drop to date in the MCU and is the exact same amount that Fast 9: The Fast Saga dumped in week two.

This has made exhibitors very angry with Disney as they feel there would be far more up for grabs without the Disney+ option siphoning off their take. Variety is reporting that the National Association of Theatre Owners has released a TWELVE-paragraph statement, pointing to Black Widow having a “stunning second-weekend collapse in theatrical revenues” and claiming a theater based release strategy would have been more successful:

“Despite assertions that this pandemic-era improvised release strategy was a success for Disney and the simultaneous release model, it demonstrates that an exclusive theatrical release means more revenue for all stakeholders in every cycle of the movie’s life.

The many questions raised by Disney’s limited release of streaming data opening weekend are being rapidly answered by Black Widow’s disappointing and anomalous performance. The most important answer is that simultaneous release is a pandemic-era artifact that should be left to history with the pandemic itself.”

They go on to question if Disney really does keep all the revenues from Premier Access after pay-outs to carriers such as Apple TV and Roku. They claim that Black Widow would have, should have, done $100 million domestic in theaters. Finally, they say that Premier Access harms downstream PVOD sales on other platforms and provides a good quality digital copy that feeds piracy.

These grapes, they are sour.

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