Although it always seemed like that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings would be released only in theaters this Fall, Disney confirmed that fact during its second-quarter earnings call Thursday according to Deadline.
Most of Disney’s summer offerings will be available in theaters and via the Disney+ Premier Access tier. That set of releases begins with Cruella on May 28th and continues with Black Widow on July 9th and Jungle Cruise on July 30th. In each case, the film will be available for an added $30 to the usual Disney+ subscription fee. As we’ve mentioned before, that seemingly high price could be a deal in certain markets when you factor in theater tickets, snacks, parking, and other costs of investment in night at the movies. August 13th’s Free Guy will be the first film on the roster to be screened exclusively in theaters.
Disney admits hybrid style releases may be here to stay, but will continue to be selective with the films offered. It still wants to support theatrical exhibition. And to that end, films like Shang-Chi and Free Guy will remain exclusive for 45 days, after which, they will appear on Disney+ — seemingly sidestepping other digital platforms. If that turns out to be the case, it is another shift in the distribution system by feeding recent films into Disney+ directly instead of the tour of other services, VOD outlets, and physical home video itself.
Of course, this plan still requires a summer without another major spike in COVID-19 infections delaying things again.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opens only in theaters on September 3rd.