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‘Black Widow’ nabs $13.2 million in previews, putting it on pace for pandemic-era box-office record
Scarlett Johansson stars as Natasha Romanoff, AKA Black Widow, in Marvel’s “Black Widow.”Disney | Marvel”Black Widow” sold $13.2 million in preview tickets Thursday, putting it on pace to set the bar higher for the pandemic-era box office.The Marvel film is expected to tally between $80 million and $110 million in box-office receipts this weekend.Universal’s “F9” secured $7.1 million during its Thursday previews last month and $70 million for its debut weekend. Both were records for a film released in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.Thursday receipts for “Black Widow” are on pace with the $15.4 million collected by “Spider-Man: Homecoming” and the $14.5 million garnered by “Thor: Ragnarok.” Both films were released in 2017. “Spider-Man” went on to score $117 million over its three-day opening weekend and “Thor: Ragnarok” took in $123 million, according to data from Comscore.The strong preview numbers — coupled with advance ticket sales that are on pace with several Marvel films released pre-pandemic — suggest fans will venture out to see this feature on the big screen even though it is available on Disney+ for $30.”This is the weekend Marvel fans have been waiting for and their enthusiasm is reflected in Thursday preview numbers that portend a potential pandemic-era best opening weekend for ‘Black Widow,'” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “Despite its availability on Disney+, ‘Black Widow’ is undeniably a big screen event and proves once again the essential nature of the movie theater experience.”To be sure, the number of movie theaters open to the public is still lower than 2019 levels. Ahead of the weekend, around 81% of cinemas are selling tickets, Comscore reports.Regardless, “Black Widow” is headed for the biggest opening of the pandemic, and the industry will likely see its highest overall weekend box-office gross since March 2020. This will be a massive progression from the $901,000 the domestic box office brought in during the same weekend last year.Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of Universal Studios and CNBC.