Shang-Chi's Box Office Success Questioned Amid Theater Release Strategy Controversy

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings have been making headlines following its profitable Labor Day weekend earnings.

The movie, which stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, also happens to be the first Marvel film to be released in theaters amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Reports revealed that Shang-Chi raked in $71.4 million just last weekend alone. And there are hopes for the first Asian superhero film to continue its successful streak in theaters in the coming weeks.

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings controversy

However, this is where things get a bit tricky. According to the BBC, Shang-Chi is facing a release strategy controversy because it is the first Marvel film to have an exclusive cinema release window.

Unlike other Disney releases like Black Widow and Cruella, Shang-Chi wasn't simultaneously released in theaters and on Disney+.

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Black Widow, for instance, was released in theaters in July. And it also premiered on Disney+ on the same day.

Lead actress Scarlett Johansson wasn't pleased with Disney's decision that's why she decided to file a lawsuit against the company.

The actress alleged that releasing Black Widow on the streaming platform while it was still showing in theaters diminished its profitability.

However, Disney execs fired back by saying that they fully complied with the actress's contract.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek calls Shang-Chi an experiment

Meanwhile, Disney CEO Bob Chapek previously talked about their decision to release Shang-Chi exclusive in theaters. He said that it's going to be an interesting experiment because the movie will only have a 45-day theatrical window.

"So, the prospect of being able to take a Marvel title to the service after going theatrical for 45 days will be yet another data point to inform our actions going forward on our titles," he said.

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Marvel's first Asian superhero film soars

Despite the ongoing controversy, Shang-Chi is still making millions in theaters.

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According to Variety, the movie has already raked in $90 million following its first four days in theaters, giving it the second-biggest opening weekend amid the pandemic. Black Widow remains in the number one spot.

The Guardian praised Shang-Chi for making up for the flaws of Mulan. The latter streamed on Disney+ last year, and it received lackluster reviews.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings synopsis, cast members

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings take place following the events from Avengers: Endgame. It revolves around the life of a skilled martial artist named Shang-Chi, who is forced to confront his past when he becomes targeted by the Ten Rings alliance.

Shang-Chi also happens to be the first Marvel movie to feature a predominantly Asian cast like Akwafina as Katy, Tony Leung as Chiu-wai, Fala Chen as Leiko Wu, Michelle Yeoh as Jiang Nan, and more.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings are still showing in theaters in the United States.