Watching This Week #112
Listings for May 29 to June 4, 2023; Corus channels appear set to leave Eastlink.
Find out where you can watch the new Marvel Studios film with Scarlett Johansson in Canada.
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Black Widow, the 24th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, starring Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff / Black Widow alongside Florence Pugh, Rachel Weisz, and others, was released by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures (under the Marvel Studios label) on Friday, July 9, 2021 (with some early theatrical screenings on Thursday, July 8).
In Canada, Black Widow was initially released both in theatres, though at first this did not include cinemas in Ontario (where theatres reopened on July 16) and Manitoba (where theatres opened later in July) – and as a Premier Access release on the Disney+ streaming service, which required an extra $34.99 fee on top of a Disney+ subscription (which is $11.99 per month or $119.99 per year, plus applicable sales taxes).
More recently, as of Wednesday, October 6, the movie has become available to all Disney+ subscribers at no extra charge, in addition to other digital rental and purchase options.
As of mid-October, Black Widow has cycled out of most multiplexes, though it's possible it may still be available in some locations.
Immediately after the theatrical release, the film was not available to watch in theatres in some areas. But as noted above, as COVID-19 cases have dropped and vaccinations have increased across Canada, indoor cinemas – including locations of the Cineplex, Landmark, and Guzzo circuits – have since re-opened in all Canadian provinces, though in some cases the kinds of capacity restrictions that were in place last summer have been maintained.
Yes, but only if you were willing to pay a premium price for the privilege.
Over the past year, most studios have offered "Home Premiere" premium video-on-demand (PVOD) rentals alongside (or shortly after) theatrical releases. These rentals have generally been available for a flat fee, typically about $25 or rarely $30, on services like iTunes, Google Play, and cable video-on-demand.
However, The Walt Disney Company, the parent company of Marvel, has gone its own way with Disney+ Premier Access. This required both a subscription to the Disney+ streaming service – currently $11.99 per month or $119.99 per year – plus an additional one-time fee of $34.99 specifically to watch Black Widow. (All prices in this post are in Canadian dollars, and are before applicable sales taxes.)
There is, however, an important distinction from other PVOD rentals, which usually expire 48 hours after you first press "play". With the Premier Access fee paid, you could watch Black Widow as many times as you'd like from home, as long as you stay subscribed to Disney+.
That said, the movie became available to all Disney+ subscribers on October 6 (and, as far as we know, will remain there indefinitely), so having paid for Premier Access essentially became meaningless at that point.
Yes. In early August, Black Widow became available to purchase on other digital retailers for $34.99 or less, including through the Amazon Prime Video Store, the Apple TV (iTunes) Store, the Cineplex Store, the Google Play Store, and cable on-demand providers like Rogers and Bell. The benefit of buying this way is that you'll be able to access the movie indefinitely without needing to stay subscribed to a particular streaming service (though, if you buy it via a cable provider, you might need to stay subscribed to that provider to maintain access).
Earlier Premier Access releases like Mulan were also made available to purchase through retailers like the Apple TV / iTunes Store and cable on-demand providers like Rogers a couple of months after their theatrical releases, for about the same price as they were offered on Disney+, but without the need to stay subscribed to that particular streaming service.
As with other studios' films, prices will eventually come down further – for example, Raya and the Last Dragon, an earlier Premier Access release, is now available to rent for $6.99, or purchase for $24.99, on Apple TV / iTunes and Prime Video (in addition to now being available to watch at no extra charge for Disney+ subscribers).
You can do so right now. As confirmed by Disney prior to the theatrical release, Black Widow became available to all Disney+ subscribers at no extra charge on Wednesday, October 6, 2021.
Unlike some other studios' films which are available on different streaming services like Crave and Netflix in different time periods or "windows", we expect that Disney+ will be the only subscription streaming service that will carry new films from Marvel Studios and most other Disney divisions from 2019 onwards. (Some films from 20th Century Studios, which Disney bought in 2019, may continue to go to Crave first for a few more years under a pre-existing deal.)
Deals that Disney has had in the past with other services like Netflix have been largely wound down. Although some of those deals include stipulations that may allow past Marvel films to return to Netflix from time to time, we do not expect Black Widow to ever show up on Netflix, barring a major change in Disney's strategy (or a merger between the two companies).
Non-subscription, ad-supported streaming may be a different story, however. Some Marvel Studios films on Disney+ like Black Panther have also been made available for limited periods of times on the CTV website and app. However, this has typically been several years after these movies came out in theatres – so if you're waiting for similar availability of Black Widow, you'll probably have to wait until 2023 or 2024.
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