More than a quarter-billion dollars have been spent watching "Black Widow" around the world since the Marvel movie opened with a series of premieres for fans last month. Monday evening, Marvel fans got to participate in a special watch party.
The global event took place on The Marvel Studios Twitter account at 9:30 PM EDT on Monday.
The watch party was with Kevin Feige, who is Marvel's chief creative officer. Fans were able to submit questions for him in advance using the hashtag #BlackWidowWatchParty. The event was timed to everyone watching the movie together on Disney+ starting at 9:30 p.m. EDT.
This is the latest in a series of moves made by the studio to make loyal fans a part of the action.
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The bond with the brand is like none other, and the marvel of it is how the relationship grows ever closer between the faithful and those -- like Feige -- who are the keepers of the flame.
"The passion is amazing and it fuels us," Feige said at the Hollywood premiere of "Black Widow. "And it's been too long since we've been able to interact with that in person."
In addition to the Hollywood event at the El Capitan Theatre, fans gathered at events called Fan Premieres in London, Melbourne and Manhattan, where I found Lizard Leigh.
"We've shown up for Marvel summer after summer and year after year, so I'm really excited to be part of this group of people," Leigh said.
Another fan, Anthony Benitez, spoke proudly.
"I'm a living, walking Marvel boy in a man's body," he said.
They were not here by accident. Like so many, Lauren, who didn't want to give her last name, related how she "was invited by Marvel to come and see the early screening of 'Black Widow' as a super fan of the character."
There is surprisingly little separation between those inspired by the movie and those who appear in it.
"I love it because when I was a kid, I had that same sort of passion and enthusiasm," said David Harbour, who stars as Red Guardian. "And I love that there are spaces in the world where nerds like me can really go crazy."
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Many came in costumes reflecting the arc of Natasha Romanoff, aka Black Widow, over the decade since she first showed up in "Iron Man 2."
I remembered what Scarlett Johansson, who plays her, told me via Zoom.
"The character's journey has been very much in some ways reflective of my own as a person," she said.
Black Widow has become an icon of female empowerment.
"At some point, we all have to choose between what the world wants you to be and who you are," the character says.
It is no wonder she has become such an inspiration for so many who will watch the movie Monday night on Disney+, which -- like Marvel -- is owned by the same parent company as this ABC station.