Marvel’s long-awaited Shang-Chi has finally been released exclusively in theatres and has created a milestone already. The all-Asian cast superhero flick based on Marvel’s superhero catering to Asian audiences is doing really well since it’s close to gaining more than $272 million in box office alone.
However, Shang-Chi didn’t get the hybrid release like ( both theatrical and Disney Plus rental ) and was instead solely released in Cinema. Disney’s previous blockbusters like Mulan and Black Widow were available to watch from the comfort of your phone without heading over to Cinema in the lingering environment of COVID-19. So, it was really a boon to viewers with the option to watch the long-awaited flick at a reasonable price.
But Disney took a different approach with Shang-Chi instead and released it solely in theatres for a 45 day period. And this begs the question, especially to the audience who are still not ready to head over to theatres: Why is Shang-Chi still not available in Disney Plus? Turn’s out that the answer is right at the box office figures.
Black Widow’s Poor Performance Stopped Shang-Chi Release Online
Scarlett Johansson’s standalone movie of her iconic character Black Widow was delayed for more than a year. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the effects on every sector of the economy were apparent and the film industry wasn’t spared either.
So, it took Disney almost more than a year to release Black Widow in theatres but with a different business model. In order to boost the subscriber count of Disney Plus and make sure that the movie was sellable to the audience choosing to watch it from the comfort of home, instead of risking their lives to the virus in theatre.
So, the film was released with a disappointing performance in comparison to past releases such as Black Panther that opened with $75 million in the domestic market.
But this wasn’t really surprising since it was released in the aftermath of COVID. Despite garnering $500 million worldwide, about $125 of it came from the sales from streaming.
And as we’re well aware from Scarlett Johansson’s lawsuit against Disney, the hybrid release significantly hampered the chance to gain more from the theatrical release. David A. Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research even concluded,
I am still certain that the theatrical money would be bigger without the simultaneous streaming, and it would bring even bigger streaming value down the line.
Let’s keep in mind that the statement above was made by Gross to Variety on 12th July 2021, almost weeks prior to Johansson’s lawsuit that’s still on trial. The actress even admitted that she would have made $50 million more from the performance of the box office but Disney plus release took away that possibility.
But the company wasn’t at a loss really from Black Widow and their other experiment hasn’t gone too bad as well. All these proved was that Marvel movies were able to do well in theatre without online release as well and the latter in fact hampered the box office.
After all, Shang Chi is doing really well in theatres and the 45-day window period for the movie to be theatre exclusive is proving to work effectively. As of the time of this writing, Shang Chi is ruling the box office on the 3rd weekend earning $21 million.
Also, if Simu Liu‘s new movie was released simultaneously in both theatre and digital, it would surely have affected the ticket sales in the theatre. Also, when released digitally, there is a higher chance of the movie being pirated online in HD quality whereas theatre exclusive makes it compulsory for fans to purchase it.
So, making a movie theatre exclusive upon release is a good idea at least to generate revenue internationally.
When Is Shang-Chi coming To Disney Plus & VOD ?
Well, it’s sooner than you think! The 45-days theatre exclusive period of Shang-Chi is nearing an end and by late October, Marvel will eventually take the movie online away from theatres.
And the good news is that subscribers won’t have to pay an extra fee i.e. premiere access. With a subscription fee of $8 monthly, you’ll get to enjoy Shang-Chi in the coziness of your room.
Also, fans will be able to grab the physical copy i.e Blu Ray disc of Shang-Chi And The Legend Of Ten Rings by late 2021. There will also be a 4K Blu-Ray version release but the exact date when it’ll hit the shelves on market hasn’t been announced yet.
So, if you still haven’t watched Shang-Chi then just try not to hear any spoilers for at least a month. It’ll be worth a wait to see awesome performances from legends like Tony Leung and comedian Awkwafina.