Next week, after some delays, Marvel Studios is finally releasing “Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings” in cinemas and due to contracts signed earlier in the year, when it was assumed the pandemic would be in a better situation globally, the film will only be available in cinemas for 45 days, before it can be released on other formats such as digital purchase/rental, physical formats like 4K discs and on Disney+.
With the pandemic still causing issues at the box office, studios are starting to shift their release dates around, including delays for “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” and some movies such as “Hotel Transylvania: Transformonia” moving to Amazon.
According to Vulture, should “Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings” not perform at the box office as well as Walt Disney executives are hoping, there could be a change to the release of “Eternals”, with even a delay being possible. Currently, the film’s early box office projections are that it could be the lowest opening weekend in the MCU since 2008’s “The Incredible Hulk”.
Disney released a new trailer for “Eternals” last week, which still stated the film would be coming to theatres on November 5th. Showing that Disney is still confident of the release date.
Unlike Marvel’s “Black Widow”, “Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings” won’t be available on Disney+ Premier Access, and that could have a major impact on the release of the upcoming Marvel film “Eternals”. Disney might decide to once again use the hybrid simultaneously, though hopefully things are legally sorted before an announcement is made, to avoid similar issues that “Black Widow” actress Scarlett Johansson. Only last week, it was revealed that “Black Widow” pulled in over $125 million across digital releases within the first month. Showing that a digital release alongside a theatrical release, will help balance the books.
However, the digital release of “Black Widow” on Disney+ Premier Access did make piracy a bigger issue, since the availability of a high-quality version of the film was much easier than a theatrical release. So this might be an issue that Disney will be wary of for the release of “Eternals”.
Another delay to “Eternals” could also have a bigger impact on the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as every film and Disney+ series is interconnected. Disney is also planning on releasing multiple films in 2022, including “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness”, “Thor: Love and Thunder”, “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”, and “The Marvels”. So any delay could have a knock-on impact to these films and potentially Disney+ series.
Originally, “Eternals” was due to be released in November last year, but with the pandemic still causing issues at the global box office, nothing is set in stone. Keeping the film to a theatrical release, with a Disney+ Premier Access, means nothing else needs to be shifted around. But it’s all going to come down to how well “Shang-Chi” performs next week, which could set the tone for the rest of Disney’s winter release schedule.
Studios are getting worried that audiences aren’t returning to pre-pandemic numbers and while executives at CinemaCon are shouting about theatrical exclusive windows are best for their business. It might not be best for the studios or more importantly for us consumers.
Do you think Disney should delay “Eternals” or go with a hybrid release?
Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom.