Marvel Studios is celebrating its latest theatrical release with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, hoping to make a splash with Simu Liu's debut as the Master of Martial Arts. This comes in as the studio's second movie of the year in theaters, which follows the efforts of Scarlett Johansson's MCU curtain call in July's Black Widow.
The MCU's twenty-fourth solo film had quite the tough road towards its long-awaited release in theaters, which was made even tougher by the pandemic and the continual delays it caused. Due to this, Johansson's first MCU solo film was forced into a two-way release in theaters and on Disney+, which led her to sue Disney for reportedly violating her contract.
Coupled with this was the fact that Black Widow was only Marvel Studios' second female-centered film after 2019's Captain Marvel, which was particularly significant with Widow's status as one of the original Avengers from Phase 1. According to Marvel's top executive, this was one of the biggest reasons for his resistance to the movie coming to Disney+ so early.
Kevin Feige's Push For MCU Representation
The Wall Street Journal reported that Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige heavily resisted the strategy to release Black Widow on Disney+ and in theaters simultaneously. This was due to the release idea conflicting with Feige's idea of the necessary tiers of the varying MCU's projects, which is meant to bring TV shows that compliment the big-screen movies.
Additionally, Feige wasn't a fan of having one of the MCU's few female-led movies relegated to the streaming service immediately upon its debut.
Black Widow Deserving Its Own Spotlight
Kevin Feige has remained adamant for more than a year on the MCU's movies deserving to be seen on the big screen to give fans the full experience they've come to know and love. With Black Widow being the first new film to debut within Phase 4, he seemed particularly set on making sure this film got the same treatment as its near-two-dozen predecessors.
Scarlett Johansson's solo movie was her first after supporting roles in multiple MCU outings. The film also introduced a powerful new player in Florence Pugh's Yelena Belova, which seems to further indicate Marvel Studios' intent to put female heroes into a more prominent role going forward.
While the lawsuit against Disney has taken center stage after Black Widow's release, Feige's plans look to be unchanged in terms of putting Marvel stars in the spotlight the right way.
Black Widow is available to stream on Disney+ via Premier Access. It will be available on DVD on September 14 and free to watch on Disney+ on October 6.