Did Disney’s decision to stream Black Widow hurt theaters?There have been many articles written both when Disney announced that Black Widow would release in the theater and on Disney+ Premiere Access on the same day. The theater industry didn’t like it at the time of the announcement and has taken further, louder umbrage now that the movie has been out for a few weeks. To top it off, in-theater second-weekend numbers were down 67% versus opening weekend numbers. We’ll focus on the post-release buzz in our discussion. The National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) put out a press release that started with this:
Black Widow’s excellent reviews, positive word of mouth, and strong previews and opening day total ($13.2 million/$39.5 million) led to a surprising 41% second day drop, a weaker than expected opening weekend, and a stunning second weekend collapse in theatrical revenues. Why did such a well-made, well-received, highly anticipated movie underperform?It’s an interesting question and most of their press release blames Disney’s decision to release Black Widow simultaneously on Disney+ Premiere Access and in the theater. They also blame piracy which is more easily achieved with a streaming release vs. a theater-only initial release. The numbers do point to very high piracy with this movie. In fact, according to Torrent Freak, Black Widow is the most pirated movie of the pandemic era. We understand NATO’s argument and agree that some of their points appear valid. However, there are a few flaws in the argument. First, the press release doesn’t address the impact of COVID on theater-goers. It is highly likely that opening numbers were largely made up of die-hard MCU fans that wanted to be sure they saw the movie in the theater right when it was released. More casual fans may have been worried about the upsurge in COVID numbers and decided to wait or stream the movie. Second, In the press release, NATO points out that F9 had a theater-first release and didn’t stream on release. F9’s theatrical release numbers were strong. However, NATO didn’t point out that there was also a 67% drop in second-weekend revenue for F9 even though it was only released in theaters. Our third point is, Black Widow was a different type of MCU movie than its Avengers predecessors. Possibly, some MCU fans wanted to see a more Avenger’s-like approach to the movie. Word of mouth would have told them that it isn’t an Avenger’s style movie so they may have stayed home. And finally, is it possible MCU fans are just getting weary of all the content? We’ve talked in the past about how MCU will overtake James Bond in terms of the number of movies released in its lifetime. In the 13 years since the release of Iron Man, MCU has released 24 movies. Eon Productions has released 24 James Bond movies since 1962’s release of Dr. No. Yes, Eon will release, hopefully, No Time To Die with the upcoming September and October 2021 release dates. But MCU will pass them up with three more releases planned in 2021, after Black Widow. Plus MCU has four movies lined up for release in 2022 and they are releasing content for television as well. Maybe MCU fans are just exhausted. It appears Disney had what for them was likely considered a very successful launch of Black Widow. Distribution is changing and the theater owners are in for some change as part of these changes. It seems that all of the movie companies are fiddling with their models to find the most money-making approach. That means for the production company, not necessarily the movie theater. We’ll have to keep watching to see how things flush out. For us here at Spy Movie News, we will still go to spy movies in the theater as long as that is an option. We believe it is a better viewing experience.
Happy 60th Anniversary Eon ProductionsSixty years ago, Eon Productions was founded. They celebrated their anniversary on July 6th. Their first movie, Dr. No will hit its 60th anniversary on October 5, 2022. Happy Anniversary, Eon. on DigitalSpy.com, Jeffrey Wright makes the following comment: "The surprise for me was to not be called in the previous two!" he joked. "But it gives more weight to Felix's appearances if we don't see him too often." We are glad to see Felix back, especially with Wright helming the role. We also like where he says the Bond/Leiter relationship is: "We wanted to establish what is at the core of this relationship between [Leiter and Bond], which is this brotherhood," he explained. It’s stuff like this that keeps up our desire to finally see this movie In that same article is the following quote from James Bond co-writer ramps up the desire to see what they’ve done: "So it's intriguing when you come back, and he's not really an agent in this one, and how you deal with that. Despite wanting to relax and fish and hang out in bars, if trouble comes knocking, he can't help himself." We can’t wait for the release of No Time To Die. this article on CinemaBlend.com - Barbara Broccoli confirms it is Daniel Craig’s last outing and that “It will tie into everything he’s done before.” They report that in the same interview, Michael G, Wilson said likened the entirety of the Daniel Craig films to a “miniseries within the series.” Léa Seydoux has predicted that some tears may be shed in the process. We’re going to see a lot of emotions and an emotional development on Bond’s part – new stuff. . . cant wait. Hmmmm - we wonder more – but only for a couple more months! No Time to Die opens in the UK September 30th and in the US October 8th! In a similar article on ScreenRant.com they say, “No Time to Die will pick up from the events of Spectre after Bond finds out that his adoptive brother is behind the international criminal syndicate out to get him.”
Why Daniel Craig Came Back for No Time To DieIn a recent article on Independent.co.uk by Jacob Stolworthy, Daniel Craig explains why he came back for one more move, No Time To Die! In the article, Craig says that he just didn’t feel he was physically capable – and he was done. But after two years, he was approached again by Barbara Broccoli and Michael G. Wilson – and Craig said during these discussions he came up with an idea of what the next movie could be - “a direct conclusion to the events seen in his first Bond film, Casino Royale (2006).” “Something to do with Vesper [Eva Green’s character], and Spectre, and something that was connected, in a way.’ It started to formulate. And I thought, ‘Here we go.’” So Daniel is back as we know – No Time To Die is coming soon! Really, it is!
Bookmakers Say Regé-Jean Page Now In The Lead To Play BondWell looking forward from the Daniel Craig era for James Bond, according to an article on MovieWeb.com, Regé-Jean Page has taken over the lead from Tom Hardy as the bettor’s favorite to be the next actor to play James Bond. Although it means nothing, in reality, it is fun to speculate.
COVID kept Angela Bassett from reprising her role as Ericka LoganWe’ve talked about the impact of COVID on Mission: Impossible 7 and 8. It appears that the virus has also had an impact on what characters would return and what actors would be available. An article on Cinemablend.com says that Angela Bassett won’t return as Erika Sloane in M: I 7. Bassett’s Sloane had replaced Alec Baldwin’s character, Alan Hunley from Mission: Impossible - Fallout in the role of CIA Director. There is no official word if she will appear in Mission: Impossible 8. The article says that COVID was responsible for Ms. Bassett’s absence from the movie. But, we don’t know if it was a scheduling conflict that popped up due to the slowdown from the pandemic or if it was other issues, like a script change prompted by COVID. We know that Nicholas Hoult was supposed to play one of the bad guys in Mission: Impossible 7 and he had to withdraw due to a scheduling conflict.
Ilsa Faust Is Back With An Eyepatch?Christopher McQuarrie posted a new black and white picture on Instagram to keep the drumbeat going for Mission: Impossible 7. This time it is a closeup of Rebecca Ferguson and she appears to have an eyepatch ABOVE her eye, not covering it. Ferguson played Ilsa Faust in the last 2 Mission: Impossible movies. What’s the reason for the eyepatch? An article on CinemaBlend.com speculates that Ilsa may have either injured her eye or the eyepatch is used for honing her long-range weaponry skill. In any case, it is an intriguing photo and makes us think. You can see the photo in that same article.
UPCOMING SPY MOVIES
Red Notice Finally Has A Release dateOk, we’ve been talking about Red Notice for quite some time now. This is the Netflix movie starring Gal Gadot, Dwayne Johnson, and Ryan Reynolds. In our last Spy Movie News, we mentioned that Dwayne Johnson had tweeted “#Holidays2021” at the end of his post about the movie. At the time we asked: which holiday? Well, we now have the answer. Both Reynolds and Johnson have released social media posts declaring November 12, 2021, as the movie’s release date. Dwayne Johnsons’ tweet says:
@Netflix’s biggest movie ever #REDNOTICE premieres in your living rooms around the globe on NOV 12.
FBI’s top profiler.
World’s most wanted art thief.
And the greatest conman the world has never seen…There are three key items to note in this short tweet. The first is the release date of November 12, 2021. The end of the year is looking up to be an exciting time for spy movie fans. The second thing to note is the “premieres in your living room”. Again, there has been no official announcement of any theatrical releases. Dwayne Johnson’s post implies an internet, Netflix, release only. And finally, we look at the words “around the globe”. Everyone will be able to see it on Netflix around the world on November 12, 2021. This movie, unlike many movies, will not have a staggered release schedule. We applaud this decision. We’ve talked about the difficulties that social media brings in keeping things secret until the audience has a chance to see the movie. No Time To Die has a 10-day gap between when its release cycle starts in Belgium to when the last 6 countries get to see it. That stinks for fans in those 6 countries. This Netflix decision shows they are looking out for the fan by releasing globally on November 12. We wish all the studios would follow suit. an article on Variety.com, “When I read this early draft manuscript I felt it was the most incredible and original spy franchise since Ian Fleming’s books of the ’50s,” said Vaughan. “This is going to reinvent the spy genre.” Given that the same article says that the novel and book “will follow the globe-trotting adventures of a super-spy named Argylle across the U.S., London and other exotic locations.” we here at Spy Movie News are scratching our heads trying to figure out how this will “reinvent the spy genre”. That basic explanation sounds like every Bond, Mission: Impossible, Bourne, and Austin Powers movie plot. It should be noted that another series of books will be the basis of the upcoming The Gray Man which we’ve mentioned in earlier Spy Movie News newscasts. Like Argylle, they are hoping to turn that into a series of movies. It looks like spy movies are here to stay and we love it. If these franchises can release every 2-3 years it should ramp up the pressure to get James Bond movies out more quickly too.