Marvel’s SHANG-CHI Won’t Go to Disney+ Premier Access, Bob Chapek Says

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Marvel’s SHANG-CHI Won’t Go to Disney+ Premier Access, Bob Chapek Says

By Movieguide® Staff

Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced that the studio’s upcoming Marvel movie, SHANG-CHI AND THE LEGEND OF THE TEN RINGS, would receive a 45-day exclusive release in theaters. 

Chapek noted that despite the risk of less profit, in part due to the delta variant of COVID-19, he is excited to see the response to SHANG-CHI.  

“On ‘Shang-Chi,’ we think it’s going to be an interesting experiment,” Chapek said. “The prospect of taking a Marvel title to [Disney+] after just 45 days would be an interesting data point.”

However, Chapek’s decision also comes after BLACK WIDOW star Scarlett Johannson sued the studio for a breach in contract. BLACK WIDOW followed the day-to-date release strategy, premiering on Disney+ the same day as in theaters. 

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The Wrap reported

So far, four Disney films have been given a release via Disney+’s Premier Access: “Raya and the Last Dragon,” “Cruella,” “Jungle Cruise” and “Black Widow.” The studio has not disclosed the full paid streaming grosses for its hybrid films but has revealed that “Black Widow” grossed $60 million and “Jungle Cruise” grossed $30 million from global Disney+ sales in its opening weekend.

Disney keeps 80% of the revenue from Premier Access sales as opposed to the 50/50 split with theaters, though Disney in recent years has been able to negotiate a larger cut for its biggest films. The hybrid release has led to backlash from theaters, with NATO writing in a statement that the film’s box office and overall profit potential was damaged by its home availability.

Movieguide® previously reported

The BLACK WIDOW star sued the Walt Disney Company, claiming that their simultaneous release of the summer blockbuster in theaters and their streaming service Disney+—for 30 dollars—violated their original contract with the actress.

The lawsuit claims that Disney guaranteed that BLACK WIDOW would receive a “wide theatrical release,” which Johannson and her legal team believed to mean an exclusive release in theaters for a minimum of 90 days.

Disney said that BLACK WIDOW received a wide theatrical release and did not promise an exclusive theatrical release as the lawsuit claims.

“This case in some respects is going to boil down to a semantic argument of, ‘Does that wide release necessarily mean exclusive?'” Chad Fitzgerald, a partner at Kinsella Weitzman Iser Kump Holley, said. “It’s certainly not open and shut.”

“As a general rule, you don’t delve into industry custom and standard when the contractual language is plain and unmistakable,” James Sammataro, co-chair of the media and entertainment group at Pryor Cashman LP, added.


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