Long Range Box Office Forecast: Marvel Studios’ Black Widow (July 2 Update)

Photo Credit: ©Marvel Studios 2021. All Rights Reserved. ("Black Widow")

Friday, July 2 Update: As forecasting models continue to evolve in this pandemic recovery era for moviegoing, the outlook for Disney and Marvel Studios’ Black Widow is getting better and better.

Marketing has kicked into high gear and ignited the buzz engine for the past few weeks, with another seven days to left to make an impact. Very positive reviews from 155 critics have sent the highly anticipated film to a strong 83 percent Rotten Tomatoes score in recent days, and ticket pre-sale activity is leagues ahead of F9 at the same point in the pre-release cycle.

That latter fact isn’t surprising given the fanatic nature of the Marvel base ahead of virtually any release in the franchise nowadays, but the momentum continues to impress. F9‘s $70 million debut last weekend itself serves as the best comparison point during this unprecedented summer box office landscape, suggesting Widow has an even higher ceiling of potential despite its nature as a hybrid release going to PVOD for an additional $30 to Disney+ streaming subscribers on the same day as its theatrical push. That element will still cut into box office earnings on some level, but this is clearly going to be an event-level piece of entertainment across all available mediums.

We’ll have more in a detailed weekend forecast next week and after the holiday weekend, but for now, see our updated ranges for Black Widow and a few other upcoming releases in the table below immediately below this update.

Release Date Title 3-Day (FSS) Opening Forecast Range % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Forecast Range % Chg from Last Week Estimated Location Count Distributor
7/9/2021 Black Widow $80,000,000 – $110,000,000 +11% $205,000,000 – $310,000,000 +11% 4,000 Disney / Marvel Studios
7/16/2021 Escape Room: Tournament of Champions $11,000,000 – $16,000,000 -14% $24,000,000 – $39,000,000 -14% 3,000 Sony Pictures / Columbia
7/16/2021 The Night House         n/a Disney / Searchlight Pictures
7/16/2021 Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain         n/a Focus Features
7/16/2021 Space Jam: A New Legacy $15,000,000 – $30,000,000   $45,000,000 – $100,000,000   3,400 Warner Bros. Pictures
7/23/2021 The Comeback Trail $1,000,000 – $5,000,000   $2,500,000 – $15,000,000     Cloudburst Entertainment
7/23/2021 Joe Bell $1,000,000 – $5,000,000   $3,000,000 – $15,000,000   750 Roadside Attractions
7/23/2021 Old $12,000,000 – $22,000,000 -10% $32,000,000 – $60,000,000 -6%   Universal Pictures
7/23/2021 Snake Eyes $20,000,000 – $40,000,000   $50,000,000 – $100,000,000     Paramount Pictures

Friday, June 18 Report: As the summer box office continues its progressive rebound in North America, fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe are counting down the days until the franchise’s first theatrical release in two years arrives.

Historically, the online edition of this report has been published weekly and focused on forecast additions for films two months out from release. Given the unprecedented and uncertain nature of the industry for the past year, that hasn’t been quite as feasible for awhile — but, with all due cautious optimism, some normality is beginning to return with box office outlooks (albeit, with a healthy dose of volatility still in play).

The long-awaited restart of moviegoing is in progress as films like A Quiet Place Part II, Godzilla vs. Kong, The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It, and several others have met or exceeded expectations in recent months. Vaccines and the reopening of theaters in major markets have translated into drastically increased consumer sentiment since late last year, and although we aren’t at 100 percent right now, the trendline is moving in the right direction.

With that in mind, here’s our long range forecast for the 24th MCU film:

Black Widow
Opening Weekend Range: $65 – 90 million
Domestic Total Range: $155 – 225 million

PROS:

  • From the box office to every corner of pop culture, Marvel is the current gold standard of franchise cinema. The absence of an MCU film for two years may have even generated more enthusiasm for the next chapter than already existed after “The Infinity Saga” came to a close in 2019 with the triumvirate of Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Spider-Man: Far from Home.

    At 24 months, this is the longest drought of the series — one month more than the gap between 2008’s The Incredible Hulk and 2010’s Iron Man 2.
  • Ever since Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) was introduced in the aforementioned 2010 Tony Stark-led sequel, fans have clamored for her character to receive her own solo film. That wish is finally being granted.
  • Since the early months of the pandemic shutdown, we’ve long expected it would be the likes of a Marvel movie to bring back moviegoers en masse. That remains an industry-wide expectation given the communal and event nature of the franchise’s storytelling, which has generated an incredible amount of goodwill from fans and casual viewers alike.
  • That prediction is so far backed up by online trends. Black Widow‘s official Marvel Entertainment trailer page on YouTube has generated 14 million views from just the most recent spot released in early April 2021, in addition to the 29 million views of its first trailer released before lockdown on March 9, 2020. Social media engagement overall is trending on par with the likes of previous “solo” Marvel films like Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, and Ant-Man and the Wasp.
  • While ticketing services haven’t officially commented yet, our internal modeling suggests pre-sales (which went live last week) are also highly indicative of the demand for a return to theaters. Black Widow is out-pacing all pandemic-era releases to-date, notably A Quiet Place Part II, F9, and Godzilla vs. Kong.
  • The recent release of three very well-received MCU series (WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, and Loki) on the Disney+ streaming service have further bolstered interest in where the franchise can go beyond the Infinity Saga, promising hints of new characters and storylines that are confirmed to tie-in directly with the studio’s feature films.
  • This movie will have a firm grasp on IMAX and other premium large format screens during its opening week, and likely deep into July so long as it plays well. Based on initial reactions from early screenings, it doesn’t sound like that latter goal will be an issue.

CONS:

  • This is the first Marvel Studios film to serve as a hybrid release, going day-and-date in theaters at the same time as it will be available to stream for a $30 fee to Disney+ subscribers. That element alone separates it from the usual forecast modeling of past Marvel pics. There is no clear answer, especially in this fast-evolving market, how many viewers outside the core fan base (that would otherwise see the film in theaters) will choose to watch this film at home. Notably, families with young kids may remain cautious in going back to cinemas just yet given the lack of vaccines for the youngest portion (under age 12) of Marvel’s target viewership.
  • In addition to the continued caution of some moviegoers in the short term, seating capacities remain in place for many regions (as of mid-June), and uncertainty remains as to when the remaining theaters in North America (predominately in Canada) will be at full operations. The ceilings for box office potential and expectations simply aren’t as high for Widow as they would have been under normal circumstances.
  • Is there such a thing as too much Marvel? So far, that hasn’t happened yet — even when the studio was pumping out three films per year in 2017, 2018, and 2019. This harkens back to the goodwill of the brand and its storytelling. However, more objective questions could be asked of demand to see a semi-prequel (taking place after 2016’s Captain America: Civil War) about a character whose fate is already known to most thanks to the events of Avengers: Endgame.

Bottom Line: The varying abilities of overseas countries to rebound economically and vaccinate large portions of their populations likely informed Disney’s decision to go day-and-date with the film so as to not further delay their massive pipeline of MCU stories.

While at-home viewership and an increased risk of piracy weigh on Black Widow‘s global prospects and add tremendous volatility in this new age of forecasting, this is still the kind of event tentpole with four-quadrant appeal that’s likely to attract more people back to theaters and set new pandemic era benchmarks at the domestic and international box office.

Long Range Box Office Forecast & 2021 Calendar

Release Date Title 3-Day (FSS) Opening Forecast Range 3-Day (FSS) Opening Forecast % Chg from Last Week Domestic Total Forecast Range % Chg from Last Week Estimated Location Count Distributor
6/25/2021 F9 $50,000,000 – $70,000,000 $62,000,000   $110,000,000 – $155,000,000   3,800 Universal Pictures
6/30/2021 Zola   n/a       n/a A24
7/2/2021 The Boss Baby: Family Business $15,000,000 – $35,000,000 $20,000,000   $45,000,000 – $115,000,000   3,400 Universal Pictures
7/2/2021 The Forever Purge $10,000,000 – $15,000,000 $13,000,000   $20,000,000 – $35,000,000   3,200 Universal Pictures
7/9/2021 Black Widow $65,000,000 – $90,000,000 $77,000,000   $155,000,000 – $225,000,000     Disney / Marvel Studios
7/16/2021 Escape Room: Tournament of Champions $12,000,000 – $17,000,000 $14,000,000   $30,000,000 – $45,000,000     Sony Pictures / Columbia
7/16/2021 The Night House             Disney / Searchlight Pictures
7/16/2021 Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain             Focus Features
7/16/2021 Space Jam: A New Legacy $15,000,000 – $30,000,000 $24,000,000   $45,000,000 – $100,000,000     Warner Bros. Pictures
7/23/2021 The Comeback Trail             Cloudburst Entertainment
7/23/2021 Joe Bell           750 Roadside Attractions
7/23/2021 Old             Universal Pictures
7/23/2021 Snake Eyes             Paramount Pictures
7/30/2021 The Green Knight             A24
7/30/2021 Jungle Cruise             Walt Disney Pictures
7/30/2021 Stillwater             Focus Features
8/6/2021 The Suicide Squad             Warner Bros. Pictures
8/13/2021 Don’t Breathe Sequel             Sony Pictures / Columbia
8/13/2021 Free Guy             Disney / 20th Century Studios
8/13/2021 Respect             MGM / United Artists Releasing
8/13/2021 Untitled Russo Brothers Family Film             United Artists Releasing
8/13/2021 Untitled Blumhouse Project II (2021)             Universal Pictures
8/20/2021 Paw Patrol             Paramount Pictures
8/20/2021 The Protégé             Lionsgate
8/20/2021 Reminiscence             Warner Bros. Pictures
8/27/2021 Candyman             Universal Pictures
9/3/2021 Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings             Disney / Marvel Studios
9/10/2021 The Card Counter             Focus Features
9/10/2021 Malignant             Warner Bros. Pictures
9/17/2021 Blue Bayou             Focus Features
9/17/2021 Clifford the Big Red Dog             Paramount Pictures
9/17/2021 The Eyes of Tammy Faye             Disney / Searchlight Pictures
9/24/2021 Dear Evan Hansen             Universal Pictures
9/24/2021 The Many Saints of Newark             Warner Bros. Pictures
9/24/2021 Venom: Let There Be Carnage             Sony Pictures / Columbia
10/1/2021 The Addams Family 2             United Artists Releasing
10/1/2021 Dune             Warner Bros. Pictures
10/1/2021 Hotel Transylvania: Transformania             Sony Pictures / Columbia
10/8/2021 No Time to Die             MGM
10/15/2021 Halloween Kills             Universal Pictures
10/15/2021 The Last Duel             Disney / 20th Century Studios
10/22/2021 Cry Macho             Warner Bros. Pictures
10/22/2021 The French Dispatch             Disney / Searchlight Pictures
10/22/2021 Jackass             Paramount Pictures
10/22/2021 Last Night in Soho             Focus Features
10/22/2021 Ron’s Gone Wrong             Disney / 20th Century Studios
10/29/2021 Antlers             Disney / Searchlight Pictures
11/5/2021 Eternals             Disney / Marvel Studios
11/11/2021 Ghostbusters: Afterlife             Sony Pictures / Columbia
11/12/2021 Belfast             Focus Features
11/19/2021 King Richard             Warner Bros. Pictures
11/19/2021 Top Gun Maverick             Paramount Pictures
11/24/2021 Encanto             Walt Disney Pictures
11/24/2021 Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City             Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures
12/3/2021 Nightmare Alley (Limited)             Disney / Searchlight Pictures
12/3/2021 Wolf             Focus Features
12/10/2021 American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story             Lionsgate
12/10/2021 Cyrano             United Artists Releasing
12/10/2021 West Side Story (2020)             Disney / 20th Century Studios
12/17/2021 Spider-Man: No Way Home             Sony / Columbia / Marvel Studios
12/22/2021 Downton Abbey 2             Focus Features
12/22/2021 A Journal for Jordan (Wide Expansion)             Sony Pictures / Columbia Pictures
12/22/2021 The King’s Man             Disney / 20th Century Studios
12/22/2021 Untitled Matrix Sequel             Warner Bros. Pictures
12/22/2021 Sing 2             Universal Pictures
12/31/2021 (no releases scheduled)              

For more information on detailed and pinpoint forecasts, contact us for pricing and availability.

As always, the news cycle is constantly evolving as the pandemic dictates. Projections are subject to change amid breaking announcements.

For press and media inquiries, please contact Shawn Robbins

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