MarvelBlog News for September 6th, 2021
This week at MarvelBlog News, we’ll talk about the second MCU movie of the year, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. We’ve also got some other juicy tidbits.
Something I love about Marvel is that whenever a new movie comes out, all sorts of gossip comes out.
We’ll sort it out in this week’s MarvelBlog News!
Shang-Chi Is Legendary
For the past several weeks, Disney executives have held their breath.
Their $150 million production, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, looked like it was in trouble…and the fault was totally Disney’s.
As the COVID-19 vaccine reduced the number of new cases, Disney’s powers that be decided normalcy had returned.
So, the film division signed an exclusive contract for Shang-Chi, giving it an exclusive theatrical window of 45 days.
Soon afterward, the Delta variant triggered another wave of cases, arguably the worst number of infections to date.
By this point, Disney couldn’t release on Premier Access because it had agreed to that 45-day theatrical exclusive window.
Disney shouldn’t have done this and acknowledged as much during a recent conference call.
As such, the last few weeks have required a ton of promotional marketing for Shang-Chi in hopes of enticing consumers to go to theaters.
That’s…not the simplest thing to do right now. Since mid-July, the BEST opening weekend for a new release came from Jungle Cruise.
That film debuted with $35 million. People painted two other recent titles, Free Guy and Candyman (2021), as huge winners for opening in the $20s.
For Shang-Chi, that sort of performance would have been a debacle akin to what Warner Bros. experienced with The Suicide Squad.
That comic book release managed a paltry $26.2 million, although it at least had the excuse that it was available on HBO Max day-and-date as well.
Nobody expected Shang-Chi to match Black Widow’s $80.4 million debut, as that’s an established character in the MCU.
For this reason, Disney and Marvel must be ecstatic with Shang-Chi’s four-day holiday weekend estimate of $90 million.
Folks, that’s a MASSIVE win, all things considered.
More about Shang-Chi
For the three-day weekend, Shang-Chi grossed $75.5 million, the second-best debut during the pandemic. Somehow, Shang-Chi beat F9’s opening weekend!
Shang-Chi also managed the third-best opening day during the pandemic. On Friday alone, it grossed $29.6 million, almost matching F9’s $29.9 million.
So, the unknown characters of Shang-Chi effectively start at the same level as the Fast & Furious franchise, which is remarkable.
Then again, maybe’s there a good reason for that. Shang-Chi earned a Rotten Tomatoes score of 92 percent. Its Audience Score was 98 (!) percent.
For comparison, Black Widow earned 79 percent and 91 percent. That title also received a Cinemascore of A-.
That’s a category where Shang-Chi was graded as an A, which means that it’s the superior movie by all reasonable metrics.
Simu Liu, the star of the film, had bristled at the notion that Shang-Chi was an experiment.
While he took those comments out of context and was a bit too fighty about them, he’s been proven right.
For his part, director Destin Daniel Cretton loved being at Marvel’s offices during creative meetings.
He felt that the cross-pollination talk with participants on other projects has led to even better ideas for future Shang-Chi stories. And we’re all here for it!
I’m going to avoid spoilers for the time being, at least until the film’s available on Disney+ in October.
However, if you’d like to know why The Blip gets ignored in Shang-Chi, here’s an article that explains it.
MarvelBlog News: About Kevin Feige
As I mentioned, lots of interviews arose during the final push for Shang-Chi. As a result, we learned quite a bit more about the current status of various Marvel projects.
Simultaneously, we also heard some stuff about some of Marvel’s most famous employees behind the scenes.
For instance, Kevin Feige, the leader of Marvel, felt strongly that Black Widow should receive an exclusive theatrical release.
Feige obviously lost this battle, as Black Widow debuted day-and-date on Disney+ via Premier Access.
Still, Feige felt this way due to concerns regarding representation in the MCU. Marvel waited too long to have a female character lead a movie.
He believed that Black Widow deserved an exclusive window to emphasize representation.
Feige also wanted to reward Scarlett Johansson for her loyalty over the years. These details mesh with what I’ve reported previously here.
Understandably, Feige’s pretty miffed that not only didn’t he get his way but that ScarJo got treated poorly to boot.
Now that Shang-Chi has exceeded most expectations during its opening weekend, Feige feels at least somewhat vindicated.
The Business of Marvel
Of course, that’s only part of the story. Black Widow earned $60 million more during its first weekend on Premier Access and has surpassed $125 million overall.
Shang-Chi will earn none of that money, which is almost pure profit for Disney due to vertical integration.
So, no matter what you hear from theatrical fans, Black Widow brought in a LOT more money for Disney, at least during its first week.
Still, the ScarJo divorce had led to ripple effects behind the scenes. Not only is Feige disgruntled, but we’ve also learned that the Russo Brothers are mad.
The directors of the last two Avengers games aren’t ready to come back to Disney.
They’ve apparently got their choice of Marvel AND Star Wars movies if/when they do. However, the brothers don’t like what happened to their friend.
Also, they’re no longer sure whether they’d earn the same money for future projects. That’s the core issue that just drove a wedge between ScarJo and Disney.
The economics of filmmaking have changed due to the pandemic and streaming. As a result, Disney and Marvel need to update their contracts to keep the talent happy.
Thus far, the Russos believe that Disney isn’t offering enough guaranteed money to persuade them to return.
As a reminder, their last film with the company was the most successful production in the history of cinema for at least a while.
Disney can and should pay them whatever they want. Then again, the same statement applies to Johansson, and we all know how that worked out.