Shang-Chi fans are not happy right now. Even as theaters opened and other major studio films went for exclusive theatrical debuts, Disney stuck to releasing its last few releases- Black Widow, Jungle Cruise, Cruella, etc- both on its streamer and in the theaters. But now that the number of COVID positive cases, aided by the far more dangerous delta variant, is once again increasing, Disney has not given the slightest inclination towards changing its plans of releasing its upcoming films exclusively in theaters, especially Shang-Chi and The Legend of the Ten Rings. As expected, moviegoers, particularly diehard Marvel fans, are not at all happy.
Despite the fact that releasing films like Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ harmed their earning potential, Cruella, Black Widow, and Jungle Cruise still followed the pattern. But not anymore. ComicBook has reported that Disney CEO Bob Chapek has confirmed during a third-quarter financial results conference call that two films, the recently released Ryan Reynolds starrer Free Guy and Marvel’s upcoming Shang-Chi, will open in theaters exclusively for a period of 45 days, after which the latter will be available on Disney+
While he explained that Disney is all about flexibility and changing their decisions based on the vibe in the marketplace, Chapek added that theatrical activity is very important for a film to recover the money invested in its making and promotion. When the decision to make Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ release theatre exclusive was taken, it was to ensure that the film opened in “a much more healthy theatrical environment.” As, at the time, they had no idea that the world would once again find itself swamped with the resurgence of Covid, and with Shang-Chi release date i.e., September 3 being too close, processing last-minute changes is difficult now.
Given the gist of his statement, it is obvious that Disney has no plans of debuting Shang-Chi on Disney+ on the same day as its release. What they are more focused on is how the film’s 45-day exclusive theatrical window is “an interesting experiment” as it will allow them to deduce whether releasing a Disney film, especially a Marvel title, on the streamer after it has been in the theaters is more profitable or not.
But as Marvel fans are already making the decision to boycott Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings once it releases next month, the plan appears to be majorly flawed. While many of them are those who prefer to catch the first-day-first show of a Marvel film and have been pretty excited about the Marvel Cinematic Universe continuing its streak of embracing diversity, they are not willing to risk the avoidable exposure to the new coronavirus variant. So, instead, they will wait for Shang-Chi to land on Disney+ and then watch it as even if it means being exposed to spoilers, they would be able to enjoy the film safely. Check out what some more fans are saying:
The cast of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings includes Simu Liu, Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh, Tony Leung, Ronny Chieng, Dallas Liu, and Jade Xu. The film is scheduled to release across theaters on September 12, 2021.