Disney delays Black Widow debut, adds home streaming option on same day

Actress Scarlett Johansson stars as the Russian-born spy-turned-superhero in Marvel Studios film Black Widow. PHOTO: THE WALT DISNEY COMPANY

LOS ANGELES (REUTERS) - Walt Disney Co on Tuesday (March 23) delayed the release of Marvel Studios film Black Widow by two months until July and said it would offer the movie simultaneously in theatres and for a fee on the Disney+ streaming service.

Theatre chains had been hoping that Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson as the Russian-born spy-turned-superhero, would kick off a summer blockbuster season in early May and draw crowds back to theatres after extended closures due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Shares of AMC Entertainment, the world's largest cinema operator, slumped 16 per cent after the announcement.

Disney also said it would offer live-action movie Cruella for a fee to Disney+ customers on the same day it hits cinemas, which is scheduled for May 28, and that Pixar movie Luca would skip theatres and debut to all Disney+ subscribers on June 18.

The company delayed a handful of other films, including Marvel film Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, which is now set to reach theatres on Sept 3 instead of July 9.

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