Geeklings, it looks like Black Widow is going to be delayed…again. As far as soft column openings go, I am fully aware that this is the equivalent of someone ripping a band-aid off without telling you they’re going to rip a band-aid off, but I just thought the best course of action here was to be direct. Why mess around? We know the game. It’s not like COVID has gone away, in fact, it’s gotten worse. Cases are up. Deaths are up. There’s a new strain out there making me wonder if I could get second COVID. It sucks. It sucks a lot. This thing doesn’t appear to be going anywhere and hopefully this new regime can do what the last could not… take this virus seriously.
There are a million and one things I miss doing. I had to do some traveling for work today in an area that the Mrs. and I like to visit for good eats. I was going to call her and suggest that we should make a stop over the weekend, and then I remembered…COVID. The Royal Rumble is coming up next weekend and one of my favorite things is getting together with friends as we enjoy our favorite wrestling event. Doesn’t look like that will be happening this year because… COVID. Most of all though, I miss going to the movies. I miss hitting that lobby and having the aroma of popcorn lift me off my feet and carry me to the vendor as if I was a cartoon character. At this point, I don’t remember the last movie I saw in the theaters. Isn’t that sad? God, I hope it wasn’t anything embarrassing. I wouldn’t want my movie theater tombstone to read, “Last Film: Cats”. For the record, still haven’t seen Cats, holding out for the Butthole Cut.
And it’s here with movie theaters where Disney/Marvel is running into a real problem. Don’t get me wrong, I fully understand the want/need to release a movie within a theater. It is magical. Think back to your Endgame experience. It was everything I love about going to the movies. Then throw in the fact that Marvel movies have this ability to gross over a billion dollars at the box office and you can see why there’s been the hold out for releases. If I was Disney/Marvel, I’d want some of that billion-dollar cheddar too. Just fill buckets up with cash and pour it over me until it fills the room and I have to swim out the door. I imagine that’s something that is literally in Kevin Feige’s contract. Buuuuut the times have changed. There is no clear outline for when we can fully open again and because of that Disney/Marvel needs to adapt. And quickly.
Phase Four, after being put off for a year, is finally in motion. Wandavision has kicked off this new era of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Disney+ has allowed Marvel to start this new Phase with television shows as we wait for movie theaters to hopefully open. Maybe. Please. But with numbers on the rise, it’s time to face facts. Disney has this streaming service and they need to start implementing it for some of these Phase Four films otherwise it’s going to screw up their entire plan.
Now, I’m not calling for another Mulan situation. I still think that the whole thirty dollars to buy a movie on a streaming service is all types of dumb and infuriating. I am in favor of tier pricing though and if you want movie exclusives then you pay more monthly. That would work for me because at this point who knows when we’re going to see a Phase Four film. Black Widow, Shang-Chi, and Eternals are all finished films. I would imagine some special effects might need to be handled but for the most part, these films are done. Doctor Strange 2, Spider-Man 3, Thor Love and Thunder are all filming now. Marvel is in a situation where they are going to have a surplus of films collecting dust on shelves. I picture when theaters finally do open, Kevin Feige dramatically blowing dust off the film reels. Do we even use film reels anymore?
If Wandavision has done anything, it’s kind of forced Disney/Marvel’s hand. How much longer can they truly put off releasing these films. The conclusion of Wandavision is supposed to directly tie into the events of Doctor Strange In the Multiverse of Madness and Spider-Man 3. If they continue to hold off film releases then the gap between the Wandavision finale and those films could be over a year. Maybe even two. That would throw Phase Four completely out of whack and could irk a very loyal fan base. You can only put things off for so long before people move on to the next shiny object. I’m not saying this could diminish what Marvel built, but why risk it when you have the power to release the film on your streaming network? One would think that further delays is going to cost Disney/Marvel even more money.
Hell, I would be okay with them doing what Warner Bros did with Wonder Woman 84. Do a same-day streaming and theatrical release. Areas with low COVID numbers could put the film in theaters, or people can make that choice I suppose, while everyone who doesn’t feel comfortable can watch from their own homes. Make it a limited run. Up some subscriptions to movie tier. Don’t charge me thirty dollars though. That shit is whacked. But do something. At this point, the slate of Marvel projects is growing immensely. You all saw the Shareholder’s Meeting. I read something recently that Marvel has projects planned to 2028. That’s insane and I’m ninety percent sure that that timeline didn’t take COVID into account. If features keep getting pushed back, Marvel might have projects planned to 2035 at this rate.
Black Widow, a film that takes place between the end of Civil War and Infinity War, should be an easy decision when it comes to sending it streaming. Yes, Widow very much deserves her time on the big screen. This movie is far overdue and this is a character that deserves to be celebrated. Yet, her film doesn’t fit in the post-Endgame timeline. I would imagine that there is something here that will be crazy important for Phase Four, probably involving the multiverse, but I think Marvel can get away with putting this on Disney+. Then keep your fingers crossed that Shang-Chi can get the theatrical release. Now no films are pushed back and you move ahead as planned until COVID tells you otherwise. Plus, dropping Black Widow early or in May gives Disney plenty of time to consider options on streaming new films on Disney+.
Don’t get me wrong, I want to watch films in the theater again. I really do. I just want to feel safe doing it. And as someone who has already had COVID, there’s no way you’ll find me in a theater until I know I’m not coming home with a virus. Disney is in a better position than HBO Max because they own the rights to all of their films. No production companies are going to clap back… maybe Sony but we’ve got some time before Spider-Man 3. Let’s cut our losses, drop Black Widow, and then start releasing some trailers to these upcoming films because we all know that Sony is going to drop a Spider-Man 3 teaser when they feel like it, Disney be damned.
If Wandavision has proven anything, it’s how badly I’ve missed the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Now, let’s keep this train rolling. What do you think Geeklings? Do you want Marvel to start considering films on Disney+? Would you rather watch in the theater? Sound off in the comments below or throw me a line over on Twitter @iamgeek32. I’m all for sitting in my bathrobe and streaming films in my home. Yeah, it lacks that proper popcorn aroma but it includes comfy clothes and Hudson the Cat. How about you?