MarvelBlog News for September 13th, 2021
This past week, Venom went the other way, Shang-Chi dominated even more, and a Secret project is filming. Let’s talk about all these stories in MarvelBlog News!
More about Shang-Chi
Last week’s update was understandably Shang-Chi intensive because that’s THE movie industry story of the moment.
I hate to belabor the point, but stuff has kept happening since last we spoke.
For starters, some previous comments from the film’s star, Simu Liu, have come back to bite him.
During a 2017 interview, the actor noted that his parents had described China as a “third world country” where people were “dying of starvation.”
As you probably know, the Chinese government remains hypersensitive to any and all criticisms.
In fact, I’d probably get in trouble for describing them as hypersensitive.
For this reason, the Chinese theatrical release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings now seems improbable.
If true, Disney has suffered another blow to its 2021 Marvel movie release schedule.
Black Widow still hasn’t received a theatrical release in China and likely won’t. The film lost a numbers game to local Chinese products and then negative buzz.
Meanwhile, Eternals director Chloé Zhao had already unintentionally tanked the Chinese release of that project.
The Chinese-born Zhao had said some honest things about her country of origin.
So, after the Chinese officially initially embraced her Hollywood success, they turned against her.
In total, these three incidents have cost Disney hundreds of millions of dollars.
To wit, the lone Disney release this year to gain Chinese theatrical release, Free Guy, has grossed $67 million in a matter of weeks.
Still, Marvel executives remain over the moon regarding the overall theatrical performance of Shang-Chi.
The movie crossed the $100 million barrier in only five days, which is the fastest of any domestic release during the pandemic.
The Shang-Chi Effect
This spectacular triumph has had a spillover effect on two other projects. First, according to Ben Fritz’s newsletter, Eternals will debut exclusively in theaters.
Yes, that means no day-and-date release on Premier Access! The day after the newsletter, Disney confirmed that Eternals would debut without Premier Access.
Realistically, Disney’s upper management hasn’t worked in union with Marvel during the pandemic.
So, this latest turn of events suggests that Kevin Feige’s opinions have earned more respect in recent weeks. Feige is notoriously against the Premier Access model.
Conversely, Disney executives love how much money they’re earning via the Disney+ release of these titles. It’s almost pure profit, thanks to vertical integration.
If Eternals does debut exclusively in theaters, that’s a sign that Disney will cede some upfront revenue to keep its talent happy.
Also, some executives believe that Eternals could earn a Best Picture nod.
I’ve previously mentioned this possibility. Now, it doesn’t seem far-fetched, given that Zhao’s last film, Nomadland, is the reigning winner for Best Picture and Best Director (and Best Actress).
The other fallout effect of Shang-Chi doesn’t even involve Disney, at least not its studio division.
Sony executives watched with interest and realized that demand remains high for comic book titles.
So, after toying with the notion of pushing its next release into 2022, Sony has gone the other way.
Venom: Let There Be Carnage will now debut on October 1st. Yes, that’s in less than three weeks. Tickets are already on sale at Fandango and other outlets.
Notably, the run-time on this project is only 90 minutes, which means it’s probably just 80-82 minutes plus credits (and mid/post-credits scenes if applicable.)
The shorter run-time will aid the film’s opening weekend box office, as theaters can offer more daily shows in each theater.
We have updates on several upcoming Marvel projects plus an update on a rumored one.
Let’s start with the bad news. The Power Pack project is officially off Marvel’s radar in the near term.
A mostly reliable source spoke with one of the former producers of the project.
This individual indicated that he expected some sort of Power Pack story down the road, just not anytime soon. Update your scorecards.
In reshoot news, two different MCU projects have undergone them recently.
Hawkeye just completed a batch in Toronto, which is a bit worrisome for a November release.
Dr. Strange In the Multiverse of Madness has also done some reshoots, which isn’t as problematic for a movie with a late-March 2022 release.
Elizabeth Olsen has apparently finished her part of the story. As such, the sequel is probably close to the end of reshoot filming.
Perhaps the most surprising reveal involves Secret Invasion. The November 2022 Disney+ project has secretly started filming in London.
Since we’re 14 months out, that’s a bit earlier than usual for the typical Disney+ series.
However, we know that Secret Invasion will contain a sweeping story, which means it might need more special effects after the fact.
So, the early start for principal photography makes good business sense.
We’ve got a few more stories to cover this week. The most amusing of them involves casting.
According to one Marvel insider, Disney wants to bring back James Brolin…but not as Thanos!
You may recall that the actor portrayed Cable in Deadpool. Disney and Marvel love the actor and would like him to return to this role.
Since we recently learned that Deadpool 3 is in progress, this casting sounds like something that WILL happen. Here’s hoping!
In contract news, Letitia Wright has signed to appear in several more Marvel movies.
The actress, who recently suffered an on-set injury, has re-upped for the long haul in the MCU.
As such, oddsmakers have installed her as the heavy favorite to become the next Black Panther, which MarvelBlog had expected since the beginning.
We’ve also got some new and future What If…? news. During an EW interview, Jeffrey Wright, who voices the watcher, revealed something unexpected.
Apparently, episode 1-4 “rocked him” to the point that he couldn’t wait for it to air.
In other interviews, Wright has hinted that this episode, which I didn’t like, is his favorite. I’m fascinated by how divisive a subject it’s become on the internet.
The fans of episode 1-4 REALLY love it and are happy that the voice of The Watcher agrees with them.
Speaking of the series, a recent rumor suggests that Black Widow will appear in season two.
Given the recent kerfuffle with Scarlett Johansson, I sincerely hope this means that Yelena Belova will appear instead of Natasha Romanoff.
Since Romanoff has already appeared in season one, I’m dubious that’s the case, though.
Shouldn’t Romanoff stay out of sight as long as Disney remains on acrimonious terms with Johansson?
Okay, that’s everything for this week. Now, let’s all go watch Shang-Chi again!