Marvel is back atop the box office charts.

The studio reported that this weekend their first film in two years, Black Widow, had earned approximately $215 million worldwide. According to their estimates, the film grossed $80 million in U.S. theaters, $78 million overseas, and “over $60 million in Disney+ Premier Access.” Black Widow costs $30 to watch at home, which would mean two million Disney+ subscribers watched the movie.

Those numbers come with some caveats. On the one hand, each $30 Premier Access could be watched by multiple people; as many family and friends as you could cram into a room to watch a television, or by as many people are share a single Disney+ account. If each one of those people had bought a $10 or $15 ticket, that would greatly exceed the revenue Black Widow generated through streaming. On the other hand, Disney keeps the vast majority of those $30 on Disney+. When someone buys a ticket to Black Widow at a movie theater, Disney gets only a percentage of the admission price; the rest is kept by the theater owner. 

However you slice it, Black Widow’s opening is the biggest in America since the start of the Covid pandemic, even before you factor in the Disney+ grosses. (The studio also touted in their press release that “the combined theatrical and Disney+ Premier Access opening makes Black Widow the only film to surpass $100M in domestic consumer spend on opening weekend since the start of the pandemic.”) According to Disney, it’s also the third biggest “Marvel Cinematic Universe origin story after Black Panther and Captain Marvel.” I’m not sure Black Widow is actually an origin story, but whatever.

The biggest takeaway from all these numbers (assuming they’re accurate) is that Disney+ did not cannibalize the theatrical ticket sales, and Marvel’s Disney+ shows seemingly didn’t cannibalize the Disney+ Premier Access fee either. Marvel was dormant for a while, but they’ve had either 30 or 60 minutes of new content on Disney+ almost every single week of 2021. People still went to the theater, or paid $30 extra on top of their monthly Disney+ subscription to watch Black Widow. If that doesn’t prove the loyalty (and insatiable appetite) of the Marvel audience, nothing will.

Marvel’s next film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, opens in theaters (but not on Disney+) on September 3, 2021.

Sign up for Disney+ here.

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The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Phase Four begins with Black Widow, which includes these callbacks to past MCU movies and Marvel Comics.
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