Shang-Chi Disney + Hotstar release date could be October

Shang-Chi arrives on Disney +, and possibly Disney + Hotstar, in October. During Disney’s quarterly earnings call on Thursday, Disney CEO Bob Chapek revealed that his upcoming Marvel movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, will remain in theaters exclusive for 45 days. With Shang-Chi expected worldwide on September 3 – a release date for India has not been set – the earliest possible on Disney + (and Disney + Hotstar) would be October 18. Disney + Hotstar’s release date for Shang-Chi is not locked down though, as it depends on Disney India’s theatrical plans for the film.

Disney sticks to theatrical-only premiere for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, even as COVID-19 cases reappear in the US due to the Delta variant, and other studios have delayed their comic book movies, with Sony Pictures doing just that on Thursday, fending off Venom: Let There Be Carnage by a month. Chapek said they would not have made this decision in hindsight – they imagined the theatrical situation would be much more stable in early September – but they have to stick to it now due to “distribution deals” and because ‘it’s too late to change.

“On Shang-Chi, we think it will actually be an interesting experience for us as it only has a 45 day window for us, ”added Chapek. “So the prospect of being able to field a Marvel title after hitting theaters with 45 days will be another data point to inform our actions going forward. But again, […] when we planned Shang-Chi, this title was intended to be much healthier [sic] theatrical environment. And at this point, unfortunately, due to the distribution agreements we have and the practicalities of the last minute changes, that wouldn’t be possible.

“[Also] at some point you have to stick a stake in the ground and say, for example, Shang-Chi, it will be a title that we will put on the market. Or Free Guy, that will be a title that we are going to put on the market. Not knowing, again, three months ago, when you make that commitment, what exactly the market will look like. But what I think that says is that we value the flexibility and we enjoy tracking where the consumer is going to go.

“And while some of that is uncertain, I think compared to where the rest of the market is, you see we have more flexibility in terms of programming. And nothing is set in stone because the market is changing rapidly. But at some point you have to put a stake in the ground and say, this is what we are going to do and this is where we ended up Shang-Chi and Free Guy, which are our next two titles.

As for Free Guy directed by Ryan Reynolds, it will only be released in theaters on Friday, August 13 (not in India), as Disney got it through its acquisition of 20th Century Fox which features a different set of agreements. Chapek said they “didn’t have the degree of freedom” to take Free Guy straight to Disney + Premier Access, as they did with Scarlett Johansson. Black Widow, or Jungle Cruise with Dwayne Johnson and Emily Blunt.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings hits theaters on September 3. It could be released on October 18 on Disney + and Disney + Hotstar.

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