Following Scarlet Johansson's lawsuit over the hybrid release of Black Widow, Disney is mired in yet another controversy with their latest Marvel venture featuring the studio's first Asian superhero.
This time, Disney CEO Bob Chapek was slammed for referring to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, the 25th film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), an "interesting experiment."
Actor Simu Liu, who plays the title role of Shang-Chi, spoke out on social media in a passionate response to comments made by Disney CEO Bob Chapek.
Chapek confirmed during Disney's quarterly earnings call on Thursday his studio will release the film exclusively in theaters for 45 days.
This strategy is a break from Disney simultaneously releasing previous blockbuster films, like Johansson's Black Widow, in theaters on the same day as well as on their streaming platform, Disney+.
Chapek said Shang-Chi was intended to be released in a "much more healthy theatrical environment," but when concerns around the surge of the variant virus grew, it was too late to modify plans for releasing the film because of "the impracticality of last-minute changes."
Studios typically commit money allocated towards advertisements and marketing campaigns at least two months prior to the release of a film.
"On 'Shang-Chi,' we think it's going to be an interesting experiment. The prospect of taking a Marvel title to [Disney+] after just 45 days would be an interesting data point."
In response, Liu rebuked the notion that his history-making film was being labeled as an "experiment."
He took to social media and posted behind-the-scenes photos from the movie expressing his pride in his work in Shang-Chi.
"We are not an 'interesting experiment,'" he said, quoting Chapek's description of the film.
"We are the underdog; the underestimated. We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year."
"We are the surprise. I'm fired the f**k up to make history on September 3rd; JOIN US."
Although much of the comments expressed support for Liu, not everyone was sure about the point of contention with the CEO's comment.
Others remained pumped to see the film, despite the controversy.
Liu had campaigned to play the titular kung fu master years before being cast to lead the film.
When it was announced he would play Shang-Chi, he told Huffington Post in an interview that the movie was "an opportunity to re-introduce ourselves to the world following years of stereotypes and caricatures and tired tropes."
"I think seeing yourself represented in that way can have a profound impact on how you view your place in society, your cultural identity and what you are capable of achieving."
"I'm honored that I played a small part in this fight, and I'm ready to bear that torch if and when it is asked of me."
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings features a predominantly Asian cast, including Awkwafina, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh, and Tony Leung.
It will be released exclusively in theaters on September 3 for 45 days before becoming available for streaming on Disney+.