Marvel’s Eternals Getting Theatrical-Only Release Thanks to Shang-Chi’s Performance

A new report suggests Marvel Studios’ Eternals is remaining theater-exclusive thanks to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings’ success.

The will they/won’t they regarding the fate of Marvel Studios’ Eternals may finally be over.

According to a new report from Matthew Beloni in his What I’m hearing… newsletter, the performance of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings convinced Disney CEO Bob Chapek and Chairman of  Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution Kareem Daniel to keep Eternals exclusive to theaters upon its release.

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In August, Chapek confirmed Shang-Chi — unlike its Marvel Cinematic Universe predecessor Black Widow — would be released in theaters only as opposed to getting a hybrid release with Disney+ Premier Access. Then, after 45 days, the movie would be available on Disney+ for all subscribers. “We think it’s going to be an interesting experiment for us,” he said at the time, resulting in some backlash over a perceived misunderstanding.

While it was later confirmed during the same conversation with Chapek that Eternals was sticking to its November theatrical release date, Marvel Studios President/Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige soon cast doubt on this when he said, “I think a theater would be my preference and Chloe [Zhao]’s preference. We will see where we go with it.”

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If Shang-Chi truly was an experiment (Chapek was referring specifically to the 45-day theatrical window, which isn’t the norm for Disney or Marvel), it certainly passed the test. Thus far, the film has grossed $162.13 million worldwide, and it soundly broke box office records upon its Labor Day weekend release. The success even convinced Sony Pictures to bump up the release date of its own Marvel film, Venom: Let There Be Carnage.

As for the aforementioned Black Widow, its theatrical/Disney+ Premier Access release was riddled with controversy. Despite opening to strong numbers, Disney failed to disclose how the film performed on Premier Access after its opening weekend. Moreover, the shift to a hybrid model was done without Disney first notifying Scarlett Johansson to renegotiate her contract, resulting in a messy lawsuit. “Disney intentionally induced Marvel’s breach of the agreement, without justification, in order to prevent Ms. Johansson from realizing the full benefit of her bargain with Marvel,” the suit claimed.

RELATED: Eternals Producer Says the Marvel Film Shares DNA With Nomadland

Eternals arrives in theaters Nov. 5.

Source: What I’m hearing… newsletter

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Marvel’s Eternals Getting Theatrical-Only Release Thanks to Shang-Chi’s Performance