Despite ongoing controversy involving the lawsuit between Disney and Scarlet Johansson, CEO Bob Chapek defended the release strategy for Black Widow today. During a recent Disney investor call, Chapek commented on the current success of this unique hybrid release strategy.
“Last year, in light of the prolonged and unpredictable nature of a pandemic, we needed to find alternative ways to bring our movies to consumers while theaters were closed and once they began to reopen, there was still widespread reluctance to return. Therefore we adopted a three-prong strategy for releasing our films that consisted of theatrical releases, direct to Disney+, and a hybrid of theatrical plus Premier Access, as we did with Cruella, Jungle Cruise, and Marvel’s Black Widow, the top performing film at the domestic box office since the start of a pandemic. Bob Iger and I, along with the leaders of our creative and distribution teams, determine this was the right strategy because it would enable us to reach the broadest possible audience.”
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Chapek also said that not every film would be found to this style of release in the future.
“And just to reiterate, distribution decisions are made on a film-by-film basis based on a global marketplace conditions and consumer behavior. We will continue to utilize all available options going forward. Learn from insights gained with each release and innovate accordingly, but always doing what we believe is in the best interest of the film, and the best interest of our constituents.”
With the recent announcement that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be exclusively premiering in theaters, it seems the company is serious about pursuing other strategies when necessary.