'Black Widow' Sprints to Disney+, 'Shang-Chi' Delayed
Marvel Studios shuffles its movie slate once more as the pandemic rages on.
Despite readily-available vaccines and the reopening of movie theaters in Los Angeles and New York City, earlier today Disney delayed both Black Widow and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings for the third time. Black Widow will now open on July 9th, 2021, taking Shang-Chi's date. Natasha Romanoff's long-awaited solo movie will premiere in theaters and on Disney+ simultaneously, following in the footsteps of Mulan and Raya and the Last Dragon. Meanwhile, Shang-Chi moves to September 3rd, 2021, the dreaded Labor Day weekend slot.
Black Widow arrives on Disney+ with Premier Access, which means that subscribers will have to pay an additional $29.99 fee on top of their monthly subscription price to access the film. Shang-Chi is currently a theatrical exclusive, but that could change in the future depending on how the hybrid release works out for Black Widow. Both of these shifts mark new territory for the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Black Widow will debut over two years after the release of Spider-Man: Far From Home, creating the longest gap between MCU films since the franchise began in 2008. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will make history as the first Marvel Studios production to debut in September, hopefully overcoming a historically lackluster Labor Day opening weekend. The current record-holder for a Labor Day opening is 2007's Halloween with $30.5 million, which would be abysmal for a Marvel Studios production.
The good news is that we have a brand-new poster for Black Widow showing off Natasha's new stealth suit (top of post), and the rest of Marvel's film slate is remaining in place for now! Eternals is still set for a November 5th release, while Spider-Man: No Way Home (distributed by Sony) lands in theaters on December 17th. The second half of 2021 will be pretty loaded with MCU content, since we also have What If...?, Ms. Marvel, and Hawkeye on Disney+ to look forward to during the fall.
I fully expected this delay to occur, but I didn't think Black Widow would be sent to Disney+ at the same time. It's a shame that after waiting for 10 years, Natasha's only solo movie will likely become the lowest-grossing MCU entry since 2011 (if not the lowest overall). However, a hybrid release is the safest path to take right now - Black Widow can't keep holding up other MCU films and it must release before Hawkeye due to Yelena Belova's appearance in both projects. Shang-Chi's delay doesn't bother me much since it's only two months and we haven't seen any official promotional material for the film, but it's just sad that after waiting patiently for so long, Black Widow still gets the short end of the stick.
What do you think of these delays? Comment below!