Disney reportedly lost $600 million on Black Widow due to piracy. Black Widow was the first new film in Marvel Studios’ Phase 4 plans. Originally set to open in theaters on May 1, 2020, the film was delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The film takes place between the events of Captain America: Civil War and Avengers: Infinity War and fleshes out Black Widow’s history as well as introduces new characters to the MCU, like Yelena Belova.
After a year-long delay, Black Widow finally hit theaters on July 9, 2021, as well as hitting Disney+ Premier Access on the same day. Black Widow scored the biggest opening weekend of the pandemic at the time with $80 million domestically and an additional $60 million on Disney+. However, the film had a massive second-weekend drop at the box office of 68%, and just two weeks after its release was reportedly the most pirated film of the pandemic era.
According to Deadline, Disney reportedly paid a very heavy price for putting Black Widow on Disney+ as it became easy to put clean pirated copies in several languages online. Sources close to Deadline informed them that by August Black Widow had reportedly been pirated more than 20 million times. With the Disney+ Premier Access cost being $30, that is an estimated $600 million in lost revenue from PVOD alone.