Safety precautions in response to COVID-19 have had a substantial impact on the entertainment industry, with cast and crew members on film sets tested upwards of three times per week, hiking up production costs and extending shooting schedules. Films like Barb and Star Go to Vista Del Mar and Disney’s Raya and the Last Dragon were both pandemic releases that led their audiences to pay $20-$30 streaming fees in order to catch the films and (appropriately) forego the epidemiological dangers of the theater viewing experience. But with the increased distribution of the COVID-19 vaccines and the possibility that frequenting a movie theater will be a safe possibility this forthcoming summer, Disney has begun shuffling around films on its release schedule.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the forthcoming Marvel film which stars a predominantly Asian cast, has had its released date pushed back from July to September 3. Shang-Chi is a Chinese-American superhero who first appeared in Marvel comics in 1973. Simu Liu of Kim’s Convenience acclaim will portray the titular role.
The Shang-Chi scheduling change, moves some things around. Disney also announced that the long-delayed Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson and Florence Pugh, will be simultaneously released on Disney+ (through its $30 Premier Access price that affected Mulan and Raya) and in theaters on Shang-Chi’s former release date of July 9.
The Emma Stone-led Cruella will also get the double-duty distribution treatment for the same price, landing in theaters and on Disney+ on May 28. Pixar’s Luca, on the other hand, is skipping theaters entirely and will exclusively be available on Disney+ (for no extra fee, a la Soul) starting on June 18.