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Crowds beginning to return to theaters
Scarlett Johansson's "Black Widow" is drawing many movie goers back to theaters.

Superheroes have long worked to save the world. Now they might be saving movie theaters.

“Black Widow” flexed its muscle and enjoyed a monster opening weekend on the big screen and on smaller screens at home.

Walt Disney Co. says “Black Widow” generated an estimated $80 million in North American ticket sales over the weekend and at least another $60 million in Disney+ streaming rentals. In addition, the film generated $78 million from international theaters for over $218 million on opening weekend, the largest box office haul since the pandemic began.

“It came in pretty big for us and we had some good lines over the weekend,” said Bob Bassham, owner of Three Star Cinema. “Marvel is always a good draw. It would have helped us even more if they left it off the streaming service and let it open only in theaters.”

Even with its simultaneous streaming release, “Black Widow” still opened in 4,100 theaters. It was available on Disney+ for $30.

Richard Gelfond, the CEO of IMAX, was asked in an interview if he believes movies will continue to be co-released on the big screen and on streaming services.

“I think the movie industry has changed forever about four times in the last year,” said Gelfond. 

“Hollywood blockbusters continue to gain ground at the box office with each successive release, and that bodes very well for the many films lined up for exclusive worldwide theatrical release this fall and beyond.”

Bassham is hopeful this weekend brings more movie-goers to his McMinnville theater with the release of “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” a sequel that’s being released 25 years after the original.

“We’ll have ‘Space Jam 2’ starting Friday and Warren Bros. has big hopes for that one,” said Bassham.

The first “Space Jam” featured Michael Jordan and Bugs Bunny. This time around, LeBron James is the star.

“Space Jam: A New Legacy” will be available on HBO Max free for subscribers for 31 days starting Friday, as well as be released in theaters.