Why Shang-Chi Isn't Streaming On Disney Plus Yet, And When It Might Be Coming

A Disney earning's call reveals why Shang-Chi is getting a theatrical release without appearing on Disney+ Premier Access.

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Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings arrives in theaters on September 3, and many people want to know if it will also be on Disney+'s Premier Access. It won't, but there is some reasoning behind why the next Marvel movie will be a theater-only experience.

While Black Widow and Jungle Cruise landed on Disney+'s service for an extra $30, subscribers will have to wait for Shang-Chi to arrive to the streaming service, as Disney CEO Bob Chapek explained back in August. "We think it is going to be an interesting experiment for us on Shang-Chi," Chapek said. "It is only a 45-day [theatrical] window. Being able to take a Marvel title to the service after going theatrical will be another point to inform our actions going forward on our titles... When we planned Shang-Chi, it was planned being in a much more healthy theatrical environment. Due to the distribution agreements and due to the practicality of last-minute changes, it wouldn't be possible."

Unfortunately, the Delta variant of COVID-19 is making theater-going in the United States an unhealthy experience, as transmission numbers for COVID-19 are currently at the same day average in the United States as they were in January 2021.

When it might be hitting Disney+

Luckily, as Bob Chapek mentioned, there is a 45-day window for Shang-Chi, so if you want to see the movie but don't feel comfortable going to the theaters, you won't have to wait long. That could mean that Shang-Chi would appear on Disney+ on October 18 at the earliest. As of this writing, Disney has not given a Disney+ release date for Shang-Chi, and this 45-day window could also mean it would be available for rent on various platforms as well. Nothing is set in stone right now.

Disney also had this same issue with the recently-released Ryan Reynolds action/comedy Free Guy. With its theatrical run, Free Guy made $181 million worldwide, but it has yet to received a streaming release. During an investor call, the Disney CEO revealed why.

"[Free Guy] is a title that we acquired under the distribution assumption and set of agreements," explained Chapek during the call. "We don't have that degree of freedom on Free Guy."

Ryan Reynolds' upcoming action/comedy Free Guy was originally a 20th Century Fox production, prior to Disney's acquisition of the company. Because of deals made behind close doors, it will be released theatrically.

Free Guy could be released on a streaming service on Monday, September 27. However, it's unknown at this time as to whether Disney will release Free Guy on Disney+. Because of its adult content, it's more than likely it would get a release on Hulu.

Free Guy arrives on Friday, and in GameSpot's Free Guy review, Chris E. Hayner said, "Free Guy tells an inspiring story of someone trying to figure out who they truly are in a world they feel estranged from. It just so happens that this story is disguised as a very entertaining blockbuster action film set within the world of a video game. The cast is fantastic, the action is better than you could have hoped for, and at the end, chances are you'll be dying to find out when the next installment will be. While the streamer cameos stick out like a sore thumb, they cannot topple just how enjoyable this movie is and will continue to be upon rewatch."

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