Marvel Studios’ new original series “Ms. Marvel” is to be given a unique theatrical release next month in Pakistan. The initiative is pioneered through licensee company HKC Entertainment.
The decision to give the series a theatrical outing reflects several factors, including the show’s status as the first Marvel series to star a Muslim teen superhero as well as the omission of Pakistan in Walt Disney’s rollout of direct-to-consumer streaming platform Disney+. Other factors include the Eid-ul-Fitr holidays as a cinema-going peak and the underlying growth of the country’s cinema market, where “Spider-Man: No Way Home recently earned some $1.75 million from just 53 venues.
“Ms. Marvel” will be available on the Disney+ streaming service starting June 8, 2022. It will debut in Pakistani cinemas on June 16 with episodes 1 and 2 combined into a feature-length presentation. Episodes 3 and 4 will be similarly merged and release in Pakistan on June 30. Episodes 5 and 6 will release on July 14.
“The series is a wonderful celebration of Pakistani art, culture and talent as there is such a diverse engagement of Pakistani creatives across the board. We couldn’t have asked for a better Eid gift than this huge announcement,” said Hammad Chaudhry, CEO of HKC Entertainment.
The show stars youngster Iman Vellani, a Pakistani-American, in the title role. The series had its origins in 2013, when Marvel Comics introduced Kamala Khan, a Pakistani American teenager from New Jersey who idolizes Carol Danvers, aka Captain Marvel. By 2014, Kamala had superhuman abilities, her own solo series and her own superhero moniker.
Vellani, who won the title role after an extensive search by Marvel Studios, is not currently on social media, but she attached a video greeting and the Pakistan theatrical announcement to a revised two-minute trailer. Vellani is joined in the series by fresh face Saagar Shaikh as her older brother Aamir, Mohan Kapur (Disney Plus Hotstar series “Crime Next Door”) and Zenobia Shroff (“The Big Sick”). Matt Lintz (“The Walking Dead”) plays her best friend Bruno, and Aramis Knight (“Into the Badlands”) is the vigilante known as Red Dagger.
Filming was relocated to Thailand after a stint in Georgia, U.S. Production in Thailand was briefly interrupted by a COVID-19 flare-up that caused city and provincial governors to impose severe new restrictions and a near curfew in the evenings. But it was able to continue through April and early May 2021 and wrapped on schedule.
Bisha K. Ali serves as writer and showrunner, with four directors attached: Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, Adil El Arbi, Billal Fallah and Meera Menon.