Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige said its films are supposed to be seen on the big screen, amid a debate over parent company Disney’s pandemic-era release strategy.
The latest film in the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) is Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, the first to be fronted by an Asian superhero.
It will arrive exclusively in cinemas next month, a break from Disney’s recent strategy of releasing both theatrically and on the Disney+ streaming service.
That practice has been criticised by some and resulted in legal action from Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson over alleged loss of earnings.
Feige, a Hollywood super producer who has overseen the juggernaut Marvel films, backed the move to bring Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings exclusively to cinemas.
Speaking at the film’s premiere in Hollywood, he told the PA news agency: “A lot of these decisions are made, it takes a while to get a big marketing push and a big movie like this in the theatres.
“We made that decision in the hopes as many people as possible would be ready to come back to the theatres. And that’s the way these movies are meant to be seen, on the big screen.”
Feige revealed he originally wanted to make a film based on the Shang-Chi comic books 20 years ago, describing the premiere on Hollywood Boulevard as “very moving for me”.
The movie has been praised as barrier breaking for its majority Asian cast, with Canadian lead actor Simu Liu joined by Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Tony Leung and Meng’er Zhang.
Liu described the responsibility of leading a Marvel film as “an incredible honour”.
He told PA: “I am so fired up to be here right now. We have not one, not two, not three, not four but like many incredible Asian badass heroes, three-dimensional characters and I just think this is so important, this is why representation is important.
“It’s not just having one token character, it’s about having many, it’s about having subtle nuance, it’s about having dimensionality. And we’re so happy to share that with the world.”
Sir Ben Kingsley reportedly has a role in Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings, with speculation he will reprise his role as Trevor Slattery from Iron Man 3.
Speaking at the premiere, he praised Marvel’s approach to filmmaking.
He told PA: “The MCU, the key word is ‘U’, universe. It is universal, it’s generous in its thinking, far-reaching, all-embracing and I think the people who are involved with Marvel, how can I put this, they feel safe enough to take risks. They feel safe and from a safe place you can leap.”
Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings will be released on September 3.