Simu Liu, the star of Marvel Studios’ upcoming film “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” has appeared to respond to Disney CEO Bob Chapek’s remarks that the film’s release plan is “an interesting experiment.”
Following the opening of “Free Guy” this weekend, “Shang-Chi” is set to be one of the first Disney films to have an exclusive theatrical release during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Though the theatrical window has been shortened to 45 days, all of Disney’s recent releases — like “Jungle Cruise,” “Black Widow” and “Cruella” — have been simultaneously released in theaters and on Disney Plus Premier Access. With the delta variant causing COVID-19 concerns to rise, moviegoing has yet to return to a healthy rate.
During Disney’s most recent earnings call, Chapek commented that “Shang-Chi’s” exclusive theatrical release would be “an interesting experiment” for the company.
“On ‘Shang-Chi,’ we think it’s actually going to be an interesting experiment for us, because it’s got only a 45-day window for us,” Chapek said. “So the prospect of being able to take a Marvel title to the [streaming] service after going theatrical at 45 days will be yet another data point to inform our actions going forward on our titles.”
Liu seemed to respond to that comment on Saturday morning, when he posted on social media saying that “Shang-Chi” — which is Marvel’s first Asian superhero film — is “not an experiment.”
“We are the underdog; the underestimated. We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year,” Liu wrote. “We are the surprise. I’m fired the f**k up to make history on September 3rd; JOIN US.”
In his Instagram post, Liu was a bit more direct, writing “We are not an ‘interesting experiment’” in quotation marks.
During the earnings call, Chapek did express that the release plan for “Shang-Chi” is not ideal, saying: “That title was planned on being in a much more healthy theatrical environment.”
Disney has released two other films with predominantly Asian casts — the live-action epic “Mulan” and the animated feature “Raya and the Last Dragon” — on Premier Access during the pandemic.
Representatives for Disney and Liu did not immediately respond to Variety‘s request for comment.
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