On a recent earnings call with investors, Disney boss Bob Chapek said that the company’s release strategy for Marvel movie Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings will be an “interesting experiment,” since rather than going just to theaters, just to Disney+, or the combination Disney+ “premiere access” thing where it debuts in both places at the same time (like with Black Widow), the company is going to keep it exclusive to theaters for just 45 days before moving it over to Disney+—which is a quick turnaround, compared to the pre-pandemic days. Chapek’s reasoning was basically that this is just another way to test how consumers want to consume movies, since people who want to see the movie ASAP must pay to do so in a theater, but people who don’t want to, can wait a slightly shorter amount of time and see it on streaming. That will presumably supply Disney with a lot of helpful data that will inform how it chooses to release content in the future.
The thing is, Shang-Chi is a movie made by humans, and humans tend to have emotions and they tend to care about the things they put their hearts into, so they don’t necessarily appreciate the fact that something they worked hard on is just an “interesting experiment” for the studio—not to mention the fact that it’s Marvel Studios’ first movie led by Asian actors, which makes any sort of “eh, we’re just trying this out” statement all that much more gross. Shang-Chi star Simu Liu is vocally objecting to that statement from Chapek on social media (via Variety), saying, “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.”
Liu also added that he’s “fired the fuck up” to “make history” when Shang-Chi comes out on September 3. Though not as dramatic as Scarlett Johansson’s decision to sue Disney over Black Widow profits, this is yet another example of a Marvel Studios star calling out the company. If nothing else, that seems like an encouraging sign that people aren’t just going to let Disney march over the entire human race in its quest for world domination.