Shanghai-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings made its debut the previous weekend, which was a gamble for Disney CEO Bob Chapek who was hoping for a good outcome. As the first Marvel picture to debut on the traditionally slow Labor Day weekend, it is also one of the least known of the franchise’s cast members, who is a kung fu master in the vein of 1970s martial arts legend Bruce Lee. The film’s exclusive theatrical release, which Chapek himself described as a “interesting experiment,” comes at a time when the number of Covid cases is on the rise.
The fact that the film has yet to receive a distribution confirmation in the world’s largest movie market has elevated the stakes for Chapek and his team even higher. The power Disney has over the 80-year-old comic-book publisher that has been authored and illustrated by Stan Lee and that has been put on the map has created some wiggle room for the company:
It is still unclear whether the picture will be allowed to be distributed in China, which is the world’s largest movie market, heightening the stakes for Chapek. Disney, on the other hand, has amassed a significant amount of wriggle room through its possession of Marvel Comics, which has been in business for 80 years and was founded by writer Stan Lee and illustrator Jack Kirby. Forbes estimates that the company, which was purchased for only $4 billion in 2009, is now worth about $53 billion, or approximately 16 percent of Disney’s market value.
It’s not a bad return on an investment that few predicted would ever see the light of day.
Tom Staggs, Disney’s former chief financial officer, who was involved in the transaction, says, “People didn’t fully comprehend and value the franchise potential of the genre as we did.” “We were able to purchase it because the industry as a whole didn’t completely grasp it.”
The former theme park and consumer products executive, who took over as Chapek’s CEO last year, has identified the value as one of the company’s most difficult issues to overcome. As a result of his legal battle with Scarlet Johansson, one of Marvel Studios’ most prominent stars, over compensation tied to the simultaneous theatrical and streaming release of Black Widow, including the contentious decision to disclose her $20 million salary for the role, he has already roiled Hollywood. According to reports, Marvel Chief Creative Officer Kevin Feige has been ranked by such tactic, as he did not want the film to be relegated to home streaming service Netflix.
It is possible that China has not granted its approval for the release of the film Shang-Chi, because the film tackles negative Asian stereotypes in the comic book form, which may explain why the country has not yet provided its approval for the film’s distribution. The performance of Shang-Chi will have an impact on how Disney distributes the next Marvel film, Eternals, which will be released on November 5. It might very well determine whether or not the business is able to maintain its meticulously planned release schedule for Marvel stories, which are designed to first premiere in theatres before being expanded on television.
It is this kind of careful control that has allowed the independent studio that is located above the Mercedes Benz dealership to transform what was once a lean operation into the beating heart of the world’s largest entertainment organisation. Disney’s hand was behind the $21.9 billion in total revenue from twenty-four titles, making it greater than Bond, more potent than Potter, and gigantic when compared to The Fast and the Furious franchise.
Also, it performs significantly better than the Star Wars franchise, which Disney acquired with its $4 billion purchase of Lucasfilm in 2012 and delivered box office sales of only $6 billion on the five films it produced. With ticket revenues for the 21 Disney-owned films totaling $14.4 billion, the company’s $7.4 billion acquisition of Pixar in 2006 likewise pales in comparison. According to Comscore media analyst Paul Dergarabedian, Marvel is unquestionably the most profitable film series in the history of the medium.