After multiple release date delays, Black Widow will now be released on Disney+ this summer with a day-and-date theatrical and Disney+ Premier Access strategy. Now, the first MCU feature release of 2021 will be released on July 9 — a gentle push back from the May 7 release day it has been holding on to for the last few months. This is a significant move for Marvel Studios, who have been firm on a theatrical-only release for Black Widow even as it pushed the release of this first Phase 4 movie back further and further over the course of 202o.
Black Widow‘s Premier Access release is expected to be just like previous Premier Access releases Raya and the Last Dragon and Mulan. Viewers keen to check out the new MCU movie will be able to pay $29.99 (on top of the Disney+ subscription fee that’s already being shelled out) for Black Widow Premier Access ahead of the movie’s Friday, July 9 release. Then, when the movie finally hits Disney+, they’ll be able to watch it on the app. At this time, it’s unclear if or when Black Widow will move from Premier Access-only to living as a free title in the Disney+ library.
“Today’s announcement reflects our focus on providing consumer choice and serving the evolving preferences of audiences,” notes Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media Entertainment & Distribution, in an official statement. “By leveraging a flexible distribution strategy in a dynamic marketplace that is beginning to recover from the global pandemic, we will continue to employ the best options to deliver The Walt Disney Company’s unparalleled storytelling to fans and families around the world.”
Originally, Black Widow was scheduled to arrive in theaters on May 1, 2020, thus kicking off Phase 4 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe following 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Black Widow‘s release date was delayed at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic in March. By September 2020, we learned Marvel had re-worked its Phase 4 feature film schedule, pushing Black Widow‘s release date to May 7.
Black Widow stars Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, David Harbour, and O-T Fagbenle. The first MCU Phase 4 feature is directed by Cate Shortland (Lore, Somersault), with story by Jac Schaeffer (WandaVision) and Ned Benson (The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby), and screenplay written by Eric Pearson (Thor: Ragnarok, Agent Carter). Black Widow will kick off the feature film portion of the MCU Phase 4 slate, with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings and Eternals expected later in 2021.