Is Shang-Chi coming to Disney Plus earlier than anticipated?

shang chi and the legend of the ten rings: when is it coming to disney plus
(Image credit: Marvel)

I want to see Shang-Chi on Disney Plus, but I'm going to have to wait. Fortunately, that gap may not be as long as you might expect. That's largely because Shang-Chi isn't getting the Black Widow treatment — Shang-Chi isn’t releasing on Disney Plus Premier Access as it also lands in theaters.

The Marvel movie, as you may know, is getting a theaters-only release. And after months of going to theaters, I'm finally ready for a break. Why am I so insistent? Well, I just got back from a vacation where I had substantial contact with someone who tested positive for Covid-19. 

I was tested multiple times, and while I'm happy each test returned negative, the anxiety experienced while waiting for those results made me think I should do my best to avoid situations that aren't something that I couldn't get elsewhere. I'll probably go back to theaters later on, but I'm in no rush.

And as someone who watched movies at home during the pandemic, I'm thinking theaters aren't a must for me anymore. (Though I was happy to be told that my favorite local theater is now enforcing New York City's required proof of vaccination for indoors events.)

When will Shang-Chi come to Disney Plus?

The biggest reason why I think Shang-Chi can wait is because it's probably taking much less time to come to Disney Plus than a normally-released movie would. Disney has announced that Shang-Chi is getting a 45-day theatrical-exclusivity window, as opposed to the standard 90-day window.

But before you go counting what date is 45 days after Shang-Chi's Sept. 3 release (it's Monday, October 18, 2021), note that this window may not end with a Disney Plus release. 

There's still a chance Disney Plus may have to wait for after the premium video-on-demand/iPPV release or something else. We don't know yet. 

Disney CEO Bob Chapek credits "the practicality of last-minute changes," for why there will be no Disney Plus Premier Access release. (No word if this is tied to Scarlett Johansson's lawsuit against the Walt Disney Co. regarding Black Widow's release.) 

Chapek referred to this as "an interesting experiment for us, because it only has a 45-day window for us [before it's streaming.]" Which may mean the film will go straight to Disney Plus, it may not. We have to wait to see. But I feel like 45 days isn't too long a wait, so I'll wait it out.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.