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Streaming “Black Panther” Netflix-style could have been a better bet for Disney: analyst

Streaming “Black Panther” Netflix-style could have been a better bet for Disney: analyst
T’Challa/Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman) [Photo: Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios]

The Walt Disney Company is already making gobs of money on Black Panther, which has collected over $520 million domestically and is on track to pass the $1 billion mark globally.

It’s about the best scenario a movie studio could ask for, but one analyst thinks Disney could’ve found even greater success if it had been in a position to eschew traditional theatrical distribution protocols and release Black Panther Netflix-style, with a “day-and-date” model that would let people stream the movie as soon as it opens. With Disney gearing up to launch its own streaming service, BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield says going “all-in” on streaming is the only way the Mouse House can compete with Reed Hastings and company.

“By all-in, we mean … making ALL of Disney’s first run theatricals available day-and-date with their opening in movie theaters (rather than waiting until months post-home entertainment release for the pay 1 window), along with all of Disney’s top content that currently airs on linear television, Hulu, etc,” Greenfield wrote in a post today.

Greenfield’s rationale: Based on Black Panther‘s domestic take so far, the film’s actual reach is smaller than it would have been on Netflix. He estimates roughly that about 20 million households were exposed to Black Panther. “If Black Panther had been released directly on Netflix, it would have been exposed to over 61 million households and 200 million people in the US & Canada,” he writes.

Greenfield goes on to say that Disney should use its top-tier content as bait—a way to drive rapid adoption of its forthcoming streaming service. “[T]hey could probably charge $10/month and possibly even $15-$20/month,” he argues.

It’s worth noting that Greenfield is a reliable critic of traditional media models (some would say openly hostile), who likes to share cute hashtags like #GoodLuckBundle and gleefully tweet statistics about the ravages of cord-cutting. He’s also a pretty consistent champion of streaming in general, so take it with a grain of salt.

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