Black Widow was undeniably one of the most hotly anticipated movies of 2021. After the COVID-19 pandemic delayed its release for over a year, Kevin Feige’s Marvel Studios and The Walt Disney Company ultimately made the decision to debut the Scarlett Johansson MCU prequel simultaneously in theaters and on the Disney+ Premier Access tier for an additional fee of $29.99.
Black Widow opened on July 9, 2021, and opening weekend went well. Audiences flocked to see the origin story behind Johansson’s Avenger Natasha Romanoff. Now, however, the Marvel movie has broken an unfortunate record, taking the biggest box office nose dive in Marvel Cinematic Universe history.
On July 9, “Black Widow” opened to $80 million in the U.S. and Canada, setting a COVID-era box office record. Disney padded the film’s final weekend tally by reporting the Scarlett Johansson-led comic book adventure collected an additional $60 million worldwide on Disney Plus. That pushed its global haul past $200 million…And while the film soared past the opening weekends of recent releases like “A Quiet Place 2” and “F9,” its ticket sales quickly dropped off. In its sophomore outing, “Black Widow” collected $26 million, a huge 69% decline. Or, as NATO [National Association of Theatre Owners] put it, a “stunning second weekend collapse in theatrical revenues.”
It is worth noting that, although some Marvel fans were disappointed with Black Widow‘s seemingly low-stakes storyline, the film did set up Yelena Belova’s (Florence Pugh) future in the MCU. The new fan-favorite character could play a prominent role, as teased in the Black Widow post credits scene.
It also helped to clarify what happened to certain Avengers characters — Natasha, of course, in particular — between the events of Captain America: Civil War (2016) and Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017).
The official description of the movie reads:
In Marvel Studios’ action-packed spy thriller “Black Widow,” Natasha Romanoff aka Black Widow confronts the darker parts of her ledger when a dangerous conspiracy with ties to her past arises. Pursued by a force that will stop at nothing to bring her down [Taskmaster and Dreykov (Ray Winstone)], Natasha must deal with her history as a spy and the broken relationships left in her wake long before she became an Avenger.
Scarlett Johansson reprises her role as Natasha/Black Widow, Florence Pugh stars as Yelena, David Harbour portrays Alexei/The Red Guardian, and Rachel Weisz is Melina. “Black Widow” — the first film in Phase Four of the Marvel Cinematic Universe — is directed by Cate Shortland and produced by Kevin Feige.