Disney has the best movie distribution strategy


Seeing Walt disney‘s (NYSE: DIS) Black Widow weaving a sticky web over superhero movie fans last weekend was special. The latest outing from Disney’s Marvel camp was all the rage in the corner multiplex as well as in the living room.

The Scarlett Johansson-directed film grossed $ 80 million in domestic ticket sales over the weekend, the best showing of any U.S. release since the ninth and final installment of the Star wars the franchise was released at the end of 2019. Black Widow also raised $ 78 million internationally, as well as an additional $ 60 million through the Premier Access streaming option on Disney +. Raising $ 218 million in ticket sales is big business, and it’s hard to argue with Disney’s unique approach to distribution.

Image source: Getty Images.


Disney took an interesting time to discuss the success of Premier Access, the platform where families pay $ 29.99 for three months of streaming access to a theatrical release before it becomes available to all subscribers. Disney +. The House of Mouse has never clarified the actual amount that a previous Premier hit has generated – until now. In fact, outside of the onset of the pandemic – when Troll world tour generated $ 95 million in digital sales in its first three weeks of availability – Hollywood has been tight-lipped about the money made from premium streaming versions.

Is it just a matter of not saying anything because you don’t have anything nice to say? Disney isn’t likely to spit out the numbers when Jungle cruise gets Premier Access treatment later this month if it doesn’t go over $ 60 million on the digital format.

This is whole new ground for movie studios. Black Widow is the fourth entry for Premier Access, and the third time a film has debuted on the premium digital service at the same time as it hits US multiplexes.

It’s an interesting strategy. Paying almost $ 30 to access a stream is a lot, especially for a movie that Disney + subscribers will have access to at no additional cost in three months. The $ 60 million Disney made last weekend thanks to Black WidowThe availability of on Premier Access means 2 million families stayed home to stream the Marvel action film, less than 2% of the Disney + service’s worldwide subscriber base.

However, Black WidowThe successful opening of s suggests that Disney has the balance here. Unlike new releases of HBO Max for all current subscribers by the time they hit theaters, paying $ 29.99 to stream Premier Access doesn’t devalue the local multiplex’s value proposition. With healthier margins for Disney on the streaming front, why not paddle two channels with the same oar?

Eventually, the right business model will surface, and the rest of the entertainment stocks will follow suit. Don’t be surprised if it’s Disney that’s leading the next new normal here. Disney’s Premier Access strikes the right balance of exclusivity and premium pricing, and hopefully – for the good of the industry – this is the last time a studio has bragged about their streaming numbers over the weekend. opening.

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