'Shang-Chi' Star Tells Disney "We Are Not an Experiment"

'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings'Credit: Disney
How are studios testing their films' box offices? 

In the era of COVID, movie studios have been testing and trying all sorts of ways to recoup their money. But with diverse slates and anticipated releases coming out, stars are firing back.

Scarlett Johansson took to suing Disney when the studio scheduled Black Widow to premiere on streaming at the same time as theatrical. Another Marvel actor, Simu Liu of the upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, voiced his concerns over Disney CEO Bob Chapek's recent comments, calling his movie "an experiment."

Some background. During a company earnings call, Chapek said Disney would release Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on streaming 45 days after its theatrical release.

Chapek said, "Shang-Chi we actually think it will be an interesting experiment for us."

Chapek did note that all Disney feature releases are considered on a case-by-case basis, claiming the surge in COVID-19 cases came too late to give Shang-Chi a simultaneous streaming release, as they did for Black Widow

While these comments were made about the film's theatrical window, it's hard not to see Marvel's first Asian American superhero as a landmark event, one which will certainly be undercut by audiences who fear COVID, and those who prefer to just wait for the movie to come to Disney+. 

Simu Liu took to social media to let audiences know he was upset at Chapek's comments.

He tweeted (and Instagrammed), "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. I'm fired the f**k up to make history on September 3rd; JOIN US."

We are on the cusp of something bigger in Hollywood right now. As studios try to be more diverse and inclusive with their releases, they also need to consider the optics of what gets a fair shake and what gets relegated. Compounding this is the COVID pandemic, which has not helped any movie have a strong opening at the box office and has crippled studios financially since its onset. 

We're in a no-win scenario right now. Every release has a level of experimentation behind it, but not everyone has the same level of advertising, promotion, and studio push. If you felt like the studio wasn't behind your movie, you would sound off too!

What are your takes on the situation and comments? 

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