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Movie Theater Owners Claim Disney Lost Money on Marvel’s ‘Black Widow’

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Movie theater operators did not mince words in asserting that Disney left money on the table by putting Marvel’s “Black Widow” on Disney Plus on the same day as its theatrical debut.

“Despite assertions that this pandemic-era improvised release strategy was a success for Disney and the simultaneous release model, it demonstrates that an exclusive theatrical release means more revenue for all stakeholders in every cycle of the movie’s life,” the National Association of Theatre Owners, the industry’s main lobbying arm, said in a statement.

In the press release, titled “Theatrical Exclusivity is the Way Forward,” NATO outlines its reasoning as to what caused “such a well-made, well-received, highly anticipated movie” to underperform. After opening to a pandemic-era record of $80 million in the U.S., “Black Widow” collected $26 million this weekend. NATO referred to the decline as a “stunning second weekend collapse in theatrical revenues.”

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