Kevin Feige clarifies that the comments on Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings being an experiment were a misunderstanding. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is the latest entry into the Marvel Cinematic Universe that is currently set to open in theaters on September 3, 2021, in a 45 day theatrically exclusive window. The film is now less than a month away and the marketing machine for the movie is in full swing as the tickets just went on sale.
During the Disney Investor Call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek called the theatrical release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings an ‘interesting experiment’ in regards to theatrical distribution and if audiences will turn out in large numbers even as COVID-19 cases rise. Star Simu Liu took to his social media to defend Shang-Chi, noting that the film is not an experiment but an underdog. The comment caused a great deal of controversy which has been made worse with the early projections for Shang-Chi putting it as the lowest MCU debut since The Incredible Hulk.
On Monday, August 16, Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings had its world premiere in Los Angeles, where the stars and creators got to speak to the press as they walked the red carpet. According to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige, via THR, Feige noted that the comment on the film being an experiment was a misunderstanding. He mentioned how Marvel Studios put their full support behind the film and everything is up on the screen. Feige said in regards to Liu tweet and the whole situation regarding the movie as an experiment:
“He is not a shy man. I think in that particular tweet you can see and I think everyone does, a misunderstanding. It was not the intention. The proof is in the movie and we swing for the fences as we always do. With the amount of creative energy we put in and the budget, there’s no expense spared to bring this origin story to the screen.”
Bob Chapek’s word choice may not have been intentional, but the use of the word experiment in regards to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was still unfortunate. It also is a continuing trend of the Marvel Studios president having to step in for an issue caused by Disney. Bob Chapek’s decision to release Black Widow on Disney+ Premier Access caused a very public falling out with star Scarlett Johansson is suing Disney for violating her contract. It was reported that Kevin Feige was not happy with the decision or how Disney chose to handle the whole situation.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was originally set to open on February 12, 2021, before the COVID-19 pandemic caused the film to be delayed first to July and then finally to its current September date. In a summer that has been dominated by sequels, it says something that one of the biggest surprises was the original film, Free Guy and that could be a good sign for Marvel Studios. Like Free Guy, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a 45-day theatrical exclusive and also looks to offer audiences something new. While it may be part of a larger franchise, it will be a new character and concept. In 2008, Marvel Studios threw everything they had behind Iron Man and the film defied expectations and it looks like Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings could do that all over again.