In recent days, many fans have wondered if Disney and Marvel would decide to change the release strategy in regards to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The new Marvel film has long been set to be the studio’s first theatrical-only release since early 2020, but with rising concerns about the delta variant of covid-19, many assumed that decision would change. It will not, meaning Shang-Chi will not be available to stream on Disney+ with Premier Access. To see it, you’ll have to go to the theatre, at least for a few weeks.
The news was revealed during the latest Disney earnings call. Disney CEO Bob Chapek said that due to distribution agreements, and practicality, adding Premier Access for the title was impossible at this point. He also called the release “an interesting experiment” because it will only have a 45-day window, which means the film will be exclusive in theatres for 45 days and then be available in the home (whether that’s Disney+ or VOD is unclear), which is much shorter than a traditional timeline for the studio
Chapek’s statement basically makes it sound like the company is treating Shang-Chi as both a make good to theatres and an experiment overall. On the one hand, it doesn’t want to anger theatre owners like it did with the late pivot to streaming on Black Widow and Jungle Cruise. Moving a big Marvel movie out of theatres a few weeks before release would certainly do that.
Plus, a new release strategy will help the company make better decisions on future titles. And yet, while this all might makes sense from a business point of view, it’s discouraging when you truly see what these movies are to studios. Not big art projects. Money-making products. Nothing more. Then there’s also all the health and safety concerns being pushed aside.
Directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, Shang-Chi stars Simu Liu as the latest heroic addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. He’s a man who was trained to be a warrior at a young age, but gave up that life to try and live on his own. Now, he’s drawn back into the world of his family legacy, which has to do with an organisation known as the Ten Rings. Tony Leung plays Shang-Chi’s father Wenwu, Awkwafina is his friend Katy, and Michelle Yeoh is Jiang Na, one of the people who trained him growing up.