During Disney’s Q3 Earnings Conference Call, CEO Bob Chapek shared his thoughts on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ exclusive 45-day theatrical release, qualifying as an “interesting experiment” and that “the prospect of being able to take a Marvel title to service [Disney+] after going theatrical with 45 days will be yet another data point to inform our actions going forward on our titles.” The CEO also justified his move on releasing the film exclusively in theatres during a time where many countries are gripped with surges of the highly contagious Delta Variant of COVID-19, citing that “When we plan Shang-Chi that title was planned on being in a much more healthy theatrical environment” and that “at this point, unfortunately, due to distribution agreements that we have and due to just the practicalities of last-minute changes, it wouldn’t be possible” to push it back or release it in theatres and on Disney+ at the same time.
This declaration did not make the film’s star, Simu Liu, happy, as he went on Twitter to hit back on the CEO’s remarks, to which he said: “We are not an experiment.
We are the underdog; the underestimated. We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year.
We are the surprise.
I’m fired the f**k up to make history on September 3rd; JOIN US.”
You can see the tweet in its entirety here:
As COVID-19 cases are surging around the world yet again, many wonder if it’s a good idea to be releasing theatrical-only films in such an unstable environment, but qualifying the first Asian-led superhero film as an “interesting experiment” and as a pandemic “test” is a rather distasteful statement to say, as it detracts the film’s conversations on its cultural significance to talk about its impact during the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s quite sad that the film will be released in such uncertain conditions. Still, the encouraging box-office of Free Guy and decent opening weekend projections could make Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings a success even with the Delta Variant raging on many parts of the world. Only time will tell if positive word of mouth could make Shang-Chi soar at the box office in these uncertain times.