When will Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings launch on Disney Plus? It’s a question on the minds of many Marvel fans, some of whom are desperate to watch the latest MCU movie outside of theaters.
If you’re one of that number, you’re in luck: Shang-Chi is coming to Disney Plus. However, it won’t arrive on the studio’s streaming platform for a while yet, and there’s a big reason why.
Below, we’ll let you know when Shang-Chi is expected to be released on Disney Plus. We’ll also dive into why it hasn’t received a simultaneous launch in cinemas and on the streamer, which Black Widow did back in July.
Let’s waste no more time, then, finding out when Shang-Chi’s Disney Plus release is.
Does Shang-Chi have a Disney Plus release date?
Sort of. Shang-Chi is coming to Disney Plus – just not for a few weeks.
The latest MCU movie is expected to land on Disney’s streaming platform in mid-October. That’s because Shang-Chi has a 45-day exclusive theatrical window – something we reported on in August – so you probably won’t be available to view it at home until then.
Speaking during the company’s Q3 earnings call last month, Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed that Shang-Chi wouldn’t launch day and date on Disney Plus and in theaters (per Collider). Instead, it would be a theatrical exclusive for 45 days.
This approach differed from Black Widow, which launched simultaneously on Disney Plus and in theaters on July 9. The move has proven to be controversial since, with star Scarlett Johansson suing Disney for an alleged breach of contract.
If you’re waiting to watch Shang-Chi on Disney Plus, its arrival is another month away. Taking the film’s September 3 release into account, Shang-Chi shouldn’t arrive on the streaming giant before Monday, October 18.
However, we’re predicting that Disney may bring it forward to Friday, October 15 so MCU fans can watch it that weekend.
Will Shang-Chi be a Disney Plus Premier Access title?
We wouldn’t expect Shang-Chi to be a Premier Access release.
Disney, though, hasn’t elaborated on this front yet, so we’re still unsure if it will or not. If we had to guess, we think it won’t be a Premier Access title, and anyone with a Disney Plus subscription will be able to watch it for free.
Analysis: Shang-Chi’s box office performance may end Disney’s in-flux release strategy
It’s unsurprising why studios have experimented with day-and-date movie releases. With the Covid-19 pandemic continuing to disrupt the film industry, it makes sense that they’ve provided audiences with a choice regarding how they watch new movies.
Despite Covid-19 Delta variant cases climbing worldwide, though, Disney opted to release Shang-Chi exclusively in theaters – and they’ve been justified in that decision.
Per Box Office Mojo, Shang-Chi amassed $162.1 million worldwide in its first week. According to Deadline, $127.6 million of that haul came over the US Labor Day weekend between September 3 and September 6.
Breaking those numbers down further reveals that Shang-Chi has shattered some records, too. The MCU flick made box office history with its $71.4 million domestic haul (a new Labor Day weekend record), as well as posting the highest UK opening weekend during the pandemic era with a $7.7 million taking.
Add in Shang-Chi having the best September industry opening weekend in Hong Kong, and Marvel’s first Asian superhero-led movie more than held its own.
Disney, then, should pay attention to Shang-Chi’s box office success when it comes to making a firm decision on how it releases Marvel movies moving forward.
Of course, the studio’s interchangeable release strategy is still somewhat skewed. Despite releasing simultaneously in cinemas and on Disney Plus, Black Widow pulled in more money than Shang-Chi did during its opening weekend.
Johansson’s final outing as Natasha Romanoff, though, will have been helped by the character’s popularity. Black Widow has been a pillar of the MCU for over 10 years, so fans were expected to flock to see her belated solo movie. Black Widow’s July release also came when Delta variant cases were lower, too, which will have aided the film’s theatrical performance.
So Disney has a decision to make over its release strategy. Some fans feel safer watching new MCU movies at home, so they still have to consider dual Disney Plus and theatrical launches. But Marvel films are made to be seen on the big screen – seeing them with friends and family beats watching them on a laptop or TV at home.
Disney is likely to remain flexible for the time being. Covid-19 cases could rapidly rise again, so it’ll want to be adaptable enough to any such changes.
In order to stave off customer confusion about when and where fans can catch future Marvel movies, though, Disney needs to settle on a permanent blueprint – regardless of which one it chooses.