Shang Chi is Being Setup to Fail

Shang Chi is Being Setup to Fail

Bob Chapek has changed his mind.  Despite the strong indications that Shang Chi would be pulled from theatrical distribution last week, Disney CEO Chapek went on the record at the 3RD quarter meeting, stating that Shang Chi will indeed be released “in theaters only.” Regardless of the fact that it is tracking to pull in an anemic box office haul of $35 to $55 million (and it’s not going to be $55 million). 

Chapek has described this launch as a “data point” but at $150 million it’s a damned expensive piece of market research.  This film is also locked into a 45-day theatrical window.  Disney is trying to pretend that this was their idea, but it was entirely the theater owners. They have plenty of reason to be mad at Disney. Consequently, Shang Chi gets six weeks in the theaters and not a day more.

This is going to be right on the heels of two other bombs, Jungle Cruise and Black Widow. With one more bomb on the horizon, The Eternals.

Why the kamikaze marketing plan?  

Again, this is a matter of internal studio politics at Disney.  There have been a number of articles in the trade media voicing the complaints of “the creators” at Disney regarding Chapek’s drive for centralization.  But who exactly are these “creators?” If you read between the lines you will realize, it’s not filmmakers, it is the heads of the various subdivisions.  Iger divided his empire into fiefdoms and made very little effort at central control.  That worked well enough when each subdivision was run by an irreplaceable man. The problem is that the irreplaceable men are all gone, and the subdivisions have all veered way off into Wokeland.

The worst offender is the San Francisco-based Pixar.  Once the Wokelings at Pixar succeeded in their coup against John Lasseter, they began to aggressively pursue their own fantasies.  They seem to be even more upset at Chapek than Marvel is.  The rumor is that Pixar employees have been trying to figure out some way to become an independent studio again.  There is no way for them to do that, they are OWNED by Disney.  That is how divorced from reality Pixar is at this point.  I stand by my prediction that in five years, Pixar Studio will be shuttered and Renderman will likely be sold off to Apple.

However, the biggest problem Chapek has at the moment is Marvel.  I remain convinced that ScarJo was instigated into launching her lawsuit by Feige.  It appears that Bryan Lourd didn’t make that phone call I talked about earlier.  This means CAA has chosen to throw in its lot with Marvel against Chapek.

The problem with Hollywood, in a nutshell, is that it is a world unto itself, but it thinks it’s the whole world.  So far as the showbiz club is concerned, the known and powerful within their world, Kevin Feige is the stronger horse to bet on than this unknown accountant, Bob Chapek.

They can’t look at the big picture and the big picture is that it’s the money that counts. And the moneymen like Chapek. He’s doing the things the institutional investors want done.

Consequently, Chapek needs to severely damage Kevin Feige.  So how best to do that?

At the moment, that’s simple.  Just let him follow his own plans without let or hindrance. Feige is a powerhouse because of his record for box office success.  But you are only as good as your last movie.  His last movie flopped.  His next movie is going to belly flop, and nobody is excited about The Eternals.  His TV projects haven’t done well up to this point and the future ones look just as dismal. He does have Doctor Strange coming out after The Eternals but the next three after that will be Love and Thunder, Wakanda Forever (without Black Panther), and The Marvels.

Of Kevin Fiege’s next six Disney-owned Marvel releases, only one is of interest to general audiences and that is very dependent upon Doctor Strange being the star of his own movie and not the Scarlett Witch.

Chapek appears to have decided that the easiest way to break Feige is to step aside and let Kevin throw himself down the stairs.


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Comments (15)

  • Patrick McNally Reply

    About Doctor Strange, I’ve heard that in some of the films or shows somewhere they cast the Ancient One as a female. Is that true? That should be enough to cause a boycott among sensible people. I could enjoy Agatha Harkness and such, but deliberately taking a known male character like the Ancient One and recasting as female just screams political correctness of the worst kind.

    August 14, 2021 at 11:55 pm
    • EXALT Reply

      Yes, Tilda Swinton played the Ancient One in Doctor Strange 1 and Avengers Endgame; Feige said that they didn’t want to do the Old Asian Sage stereotype (more probably, it was because China would not have liked a Tibetan character in such a role), but of course SJWs complained anyway of whitewashing, and Feige repented of that a few months ago, saying that he wouldn’t do it again.

      August 15, 2021 at 12:17 am
      • Taignobias Reply

        She wasn’t half bad in the role, and they changed her to be an old Celtic sage. I didn’t know any better, so I enjoyed it for what it was worth.

        Now that I know the role was a man, I have only to sigh. Again, Hollywood?

        August 15, 2021 at 1:31 pm
  • EXALT Reply

    “Shang Chi is Being Setup to Fail”
    Somebody should explain that to Simu Liu in easy terms:
    In the last few weeks the guy has been trying to out-Larson Auntie Brie with his comments to anyone who dares to not be excited for his movie.
    “Chapek appears to have decided that the easiest way to break Feige is to step aside and let Kevin throw himself down the stairs.”
    If he succeeds, the only downside is that the mainstream narrative will inevitably be “Heartless Bureaucrat Chapek betrays Sensible Artist Feige”, but that’s a small price to pay.

    August 15, 2021 at 12:25 am
    • Joe S.Walker Reply

      Simu Liu might as well make the most of it. He’s unlikely to star in another Hollywood movie – least of all SHANG-CHI 2.

      August 15, 2021 at 9:00 am
  • jorgen b Reply

    Looking at the features pic of the lead character makes me not want to watch it. Well it would if there had been any possibility of wanting to watch it. He just looks bored out of his mind. If he’s bored, why wouldn’t I be?

    And lol, his tweet “It wasn’t until I showed my parents the Chinese-language version of our poster that they finally became proud of me.” Poor guy. His parents are gonna disown him after the movie bombs in China.

    August 15, 2021 at 3:10 am
    • furor kek tonicus ( Whipper Snapping Egg Suckers is my band name ) Reply

      the idea that China is going to ban Shang Chi altogether has already been out and about for a while.

      August 15, 2021 at 5:21 am
  • WOPR Reply

    Being the accountant, I wonder if Bob looked at the numbers and realized pandering to China isn’t worth it? Iger simply saw a billion people and assumed easy money. If something did not do well, it just meant Disney had to pander harder to the CCP. Now Bob sees it as a losing proposition.

    August 15, 2021 at 11:03 am
    • Chris Lopes Reply

      Maybe Chapek understands that Hollywood is no longer the entertainment capitol of the world. There are other countries and cultures who create their own entertainment for their own people. Their movies reflect their history and values (what a concept), so they don’t need or want what Tinseltown can provide. Just a thought.

      August 15, 2021 at 1:27 pm
      • Corey Ashcraft Reply

        I think Hollywood is still important but extremely diminished in its influence. Hollywood used to export the idea of American Exceptionalism. Now, it exports disdain for our country.

        Seriously, why would a foreigner want to watch entertainment that despises its home country? When I watch a Chinese movie or Anime from Japan, I do not expect those medium do seethe with open hatred for the country in which it was made.

        Even when a movie does not try to do that, the cultural despisement tends to bleed into the work. I find it not at all odd that Mr. Liu would be bored making a movie that detests America and at the same time does not understand China at all.

        Ironically, one of the best movies that I thought got China right was “Big Trouble in Little China”. It’s a rare movie that is entertaining and respectful of both cultures.

        August 15, 2021 at 8:22 pm
        • David Reply

          During the lockdown I showed my children Big Trouble in Little China, pitching it as a Marvel movie before Marvel movies were a thing. They loved it.

          August 16, 2021 at 6:54 pm
        • Rollo Tomasi Reply

          Liu is part of the foreign infestation in Canada. Not even Canadian, let alone American, so like all these resentful parasites he has no real place anywhere. A rootless parasite spouting hate while sucking the wealth from his compliant host.

          September 5, 2021 at 10:01 pm
    • Seeker Reply

      The truth about China is that movies and games are the pursuit of the rich/middle class urban population. Rural areas, which still form the majority of China, are poor. Combined with the elderly being less inclined to new media, that means you are looking at less than a third of China that spends money on this stuff. Then factor in how many of that third are interested in non-Chinese media. It’s no different than looking at India and concluding that you have the world’s biggest media market. It’s an illusion. Of course, the real reason they pandered was to get in good with the CCP elites in an attempt to shift their operations to China. Same reason for the sabotage they’ve been undertaking in the west.

      August 15, 2021 at 8:48 pm
  • Crazy Dave Reply

    starting to think all these shitty failed movies (not just disney but pedowood in general) is nothing but a money laundering scheme.

    Cf: crappy million dollar book deals, super-inflated celebrity/athlete salaries, etc.

    August 15, 2021 at 10:22 pm
  • MrUNIVAC Reply

    In fairness to ScarJo, it does by all appearances look like the Devil Mouse did indeed screw her. I mean, setting aside all the what-ifs involved, if they made $80 million on streaming, that’s $80 million taken out of the theatrical pool that she should have earned on.

    August 16, 2021 at 5:44 pm

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