Disney will release the next instalment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” in cinemas on Friday 3rd September.

The film stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization.

In May, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during a quarterly financial investor call that the film would be going exclusively to cinemas for 45 days, as would the 20th Century Studios film “Free Guy”, which is being released on Friday 13th August.

However, since May, while many had hoped that the pandemic would be under control, the emergence of the Delta variant, mask mandates returning, and issues with unvaccinated people getting ill, things haven’t returned to normal.   Recently Paramount removed its upcoming film “Clifford the Big Red Dog” from a theatrical release, signalling that studios aren’t happy with the current situation.

Following the success of “Jungle Cruise” and “Black Widow” on Disney+ Premier Access last month, pulling in roughly around a third of the box office income over the opening weekend, many have been questioning if Disney will continue with the  Disney+ Premier Access hybrid release strategy.

The marketing campaign for “Free Guy” has been very focused on the fact that the film will ONLY be available in theaters.

And this is where things get a little bit more interesting with “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings”, as the original marketing campaign also included “ONLY” in their descriptions.

Here is the official description from a trailer in June:


But in the latest trailer, the word ONLY has been removed:

With the next quarterly financial results due to be released next week, could Disney be preparing for a future last-minute announcement, should things continue to get worse?

The latest character posters for the film also doesn’t indicate that its “ONLY” available in theatres, which might just be a case of Disney holding its cards to its chest, encase it decides to change its plans at the last minute, should the situation get worse.

Disney has had some success with Disney+ Premier Access, offering new movies at a premium price, for those that wanted to stay at home, rather than risking going to the cinemas.  However, this did come at a cost; cinema owners have been furious with Disney+ Premier Access, plus major legal issues with Scarlett Johansson after the release of “Black Widow”, in addition to an increase in piracy due to higher qualities of the film being available easier.

The success or failure of “Free Guy” at the box office, might be a major indication of if Disney will return to theatrical releases only, or if it will continue the hybrid release.  Paramount has recently said that it will be keeping the majority of its films as theatrical only for 45 days, before releasing them at home on its streaming service, Paramount+.

But with almost every film struggling at the box office, especially after the opening weekend, regardless of film studios strategy, Disney might be thinking it can’t afford not to offer Disney+ Premier Access on its upcoming films.

Do you think “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” will remain a theatrical release only?


Roger Palmer

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. Email: Roger@WhatsOnDisneyPlus.com Twitter: Twitter.com/RogPalmerUK Facebook: Facebook.com/rogpalmeruk

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  1. ItsMe August 7, 2021

    I really want to go the cinema to see Shnag Chi saw Black Widow on premiere access as it dodnt come to my local cinema and was bery disappointed really wanted to see it on big screen as all MCU movies should be watched

  2. Steven Jarvis August 7, 2021

    I am ready to plop down $30 to see this safely from home as there is zero chance I am risking seeing this in the theaters. Wung Shu movies have always been my favorite genre, with Jet Li's Hero being my favorite movie, so I am hopeful this doesn't flop. What is also interesting is that Scarlet Johansen needs prove her claims for her lawsuit to work, and Shang Chi is the only possible one that would work ideally.

  3. Cliche1 August 7, 2021

    I will not be returning to the cinema. So I hope it does come to Disney plus.

  4. ForCarol August 7, 2021

    Definitely NOT going to the theaters....yet. Hoping to see this with premiere access like we saw Cruella and Black Widow. Drive Safe!

  5. Ipw August 8, 2021

    My family will absolutely not be going to the threatre. Happy to pay Disney+ premium if possible. Come on Disney!!! Help us support you without putting ourselves in potentiality harmful situations please.