Black Widow’s $60 million debut on Disney+ Premier Access is good math
The Future. In a first for Disney (or any streaming PVOD — premium video on demand — platform), the studio announced how much its new Marvel title, Black Widow, made through its Disney+ Premier Access subscription tier: $60 million. Those are huge earnings that may shake up the perception of releasing blockbusters simultaneously in theaters and digitally… and show that audiences love having a choice of how to watch a movie.
Line at the digital rope
So how does the math add up for the $60 million that Black Widow made through Disney+ Premier Access (an extra $30 for the film on top of the normal monthly subscription price)?
- The big picture: Black Widow made $218.8 million globally over the weekend — $158.8 million in theaters ($80 domestic, $78.8 internationally) and $60 million through Premier Access.
- And unlike theatrical grosses, Disney gets to keep all the revenue.
- That means that 27% of the film’s haul came from Disney+.
So how many of Disney+’s 103 million subscribers ponied up the extra cost to watch the movie? Only 2 million. Meanwhile, the $80 million the movie made domestically came from 8.4 million ticket buyers.
The price of a ticket
It’s hard to tell if Disney could’ve made that extra $60 million (or even more) at the box office if it wasn’t also available on Disney+. But box office earnings aren’t made equally. Variety puts it best:
- “Making that much money off of roughly 2 million subscribers is simply more financially efficient, at least in the short term, than grossing $80 million from 8.4 million ticket-buyers. Put another way, if 2 million more people bought tickets to see Black Widow in a theater in the U.S. and Canada last weekend, it would’ve brought in just $19 million more in grosses — money that Disney would have had to share with exhibitors. It’s brutal math, but it’s hard to deny.”
So, with the cat out of the bag, will Disney keep releasing Premier Access grosses the way it does box office? Maybe only when it spins a successful narrative (the studio kept mum on Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon)… but staying silent may signal that a movie is performing poorly. Guess we’ll see when Jungle Cruise releases through Premiere Access in a couple of weeks.