Why Shang-Chi Isn't Going Straight To Disney+ After Black Widow, According to Disney's CEO

Simu Liu as Shang-Chi

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In response to the pandemic wreaking havoc on the theatrical industry, Disney launched the Premier Access tier for Disney+. For an extra $29.99, subscribers to the Mouse House’s streaming service have been able to access movies like Cruella, Black Widow and Jungle Cruise at the same time they’re playing in theaters. However, the next Marvel Cinematic Universe movie on the docket, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, will not receive be going straight to Disney+, and that’s because it’ll be spending a shorter amount of time in theaters.

During a Disney investor call, the company’s CEO, Bob Chapek, noted how Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will remain exclusive to movie theaters for just 45 days, making it the first Marvel movie to play within that smaller time frame. After that, it will be made available on Disney+. As Chapek put it:

We think it's going to be an interesting experiment for us because it's got only a 45 day window for us, so the prospect of being able to take a Marvel title to the service after going theatrical at 45 days will be yet another data point to inform our actions going forward on our titles.

While 90 days was once the standard amount of time for how long a movie would play only in theaters, it looks like 45 days is becoming the new norm. Paramount sent A Quiet Place: Part II to Paramount+ after that span of time, and will do the same with PAW Patrol: The Movie and Top Gun: Maverick. And over at Warner Bros, it was announced earlier this week that the studio struck a deal with AMC Theatres that ensures all WB movies in 2022 get a 45-day exclusive window, after which time they can be put on HBO Max. Now Disney is playing around with the 45-day window with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, so those of you who’d rather watch the eponymous character’s MCU debut on Disney+ (use this link to subscribe if you're not already signed up) will need to wait a little over a month.

That being said, Bob Chapek also acknowledged during the investor call that the decision to release Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings exclusively in theaters was made in a “more healthy” environment when it came to COVID-19, alluding to the fact that the delta variant has become a bigger problem. Alas, even if Chapek and the rest of the Disney brass wanted to put Shang-Chi on Disney+’s Premier Access, it’s too late to change distribution plans now. So we’ll just have to wait and see how the next Marvel movie performs in theaters starting September 3.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings stars Simu Liu as the title hero, who will clash with his father, Tony Leung’s Wenwu, a.k.a. the real Mandarin. The cast also includes Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Meng'er Zhang, Fala Chen and Florian Munteanu. While we count down the remains days to its big screen release, learn what else the MCU has coming up with our upcoming Marvel movies guide.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.