Black Widow is “coming soon” to Disney+ Hotstar in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada, the streaming service announced Thursday. It will be available in all six languages on Disney+ Hotstar Premium (that costs Rs. 299 per month or Rs. 1,499 per year), and in Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada on Disney+ Hotstar VIP (that costs Rs. 399 per year). Disney+ Hotstar wouldn't be drawn on an exact release date just yet for the latest Marvel movie, simply noting that it would update “very soon.” It looks like Black Widow is going straight-to-streaming in India.
That makes sense. After all, cinemas are currently shut in most states nationwide, following a debilitating second wave of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Maharashtra was the first to allow theatres to reopen with 50 percent capacity, but it reversed its decision in June. That said, earlier in July, Uttar Pradesh and Haryana relaxed restrictions on cinemas, and more states are expected to follow suit later in the month. Universal Pictures has shown itself to be an early mover, slating Fast & Furious 9 for an August 5 release in India, even though it's unclear how many cinemas it might play on.
But unlike Disney, Universal doesn't have a streaming service of its own in India. It's impossible to say when India's theatrical market will get back to a stable footing, and Disney understandably doesn't want to wait on that. It's funny that they didn't move on this sooner, like I had argued. Black Widow released day-and-date last week in cinemas and on Disney+ Premier Access in most Disney+ markets. That (naturally) led to high-quality pirated versions of Black Widow appearing on torrent sites minutes after its premiere. Disney+ Hotstar is already playing catch up here.
The other major problem was going to be the diminishing box office returns for Black Widow the longer Disney India held onto the film. But now that it's going directly to Disney+ Hotstar, there's little chance that Indian exhibitors will even accept the Marvel movie for the big screen. Still, it's good to see a studio serve the fans for once — albeit belatedly.
Black Widow is “coming soon” to Disney+ Hotstar in English, Hindi, Tamil, Telugu, Malayalam, and Kannada.
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