WASHINGTON — The premiere of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was recently held just 48 hours after its lead actor, Simu Liu, called out Disney CEO Bob Chapek, for terming the film’s release an “experiment” for the company.
The cast of “Shang-Chi” had gathered in Hollywood on Aug. 16, 2021, to celebrate the upcoming film from the Disney-owned studio.
Kevin Feige, the head of Marvel Studios, spoke about Liu during the premier.
“He is not a shy man,” he said.
“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 (sic).”
Chapek, on Aug. 12, 2021, fielded a question during an investor’s call about keeping “Shang-Chi” and “Free Guy” as theatrical exclusives rather than putting the day-and-date on Disney Premier Access, as the company had previously done with “Black Widow,” “Cruella” and “Jungle Cruise.”
Chapek called Shang-Chi “an interesting experiment for us” as the film only has a 45-day theatrical window.
“The prospect of being able to take a Marvel title to the service after going theatrical with 45 days will be yet another data point to inform our actions going forward on our titles,” said Chapek.
Responding to the comment from Chapek, Liu took to Twitter.
“We are 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. We are the surprise. I’m fired the f — k up to make history on Sept. 3; JOIN US (sic),” said Liu in a tweet.
Feige further also noted that the film’s premiere had a similarly impactful feel to that of the celebrations of “Black Panther.”
“When you have the opportunity to showcase a hero that looks like a huge segment of the globe that feels like they haven’t been showcased, the magic can happen if you deliver. I think Destin (Daniel Cretton) and Simu have delivered for this movie,” he said.
The Marvel Studio’s boss added that he noticed a superhero quality in Liu after “a lot of reads, a lot of auditions,” adding “there’s no magic formula” in finding the right person for a Marvel hero.
“It’s a feeling. It’s a sense of both the ability to be relatable and grounded and, at the same time, take your place in that pantheon of heroes should everything go so well in an origin story they will end up with the other pandemic heroes,” said Feige.
As for what could potentially be next for Liu’s “Shang-Chi,” Feige noted, “there is a direct line of where he heads to next.”
This movie marks Disney’s second live-action tentpole featuring Asian leads, which was released amid the pandemic. The first was “Mulan,” which was released on Sept. 4, 2020. That film was available on the streaming platform Disney Plus Premier Access the same day.
Besides Liu, “Shang-Chi” also stars Tony Leung, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Fala Chen, Meng’er Zhang, Florian Munteanu, and Ronny Chieng. The movie will arrive on Disney Plus, 45 days after its Sept. 3, 2021 release.
Liu’s comments came as another Disney star has been at odds with the company, which is in the midst of a lawsuit with “Black Widow” star Scarlett Johansson, who sued Disney over its decision to release the Marvel title simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+ Premier Access.
Johansson claimed the move hurt the box office in favor of juicing Disney’s streaming service. Feige addressed the lawsuit at the premiere, noting he is “all for amicable solutions,” as per reports.
(With inputs from ANI)
Edited by Ojaswin Kathuria and Nikita Nikhil
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