September 17, 2021
Disney/Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has dominated the weekly box office slugfest its first two theatrical weekends, rejuvenating exhibitor confidence and quieting Wall Street naysayers despite a still-surging Delta variant.
That trend is likely to continue through Sept. 19 as Shang-Chi again is projected to best the competition at least until the Oct. 1 debut of Sony Pictures’ Venom: Let There Be Carnage. Unlike other Marvel releases that have seen ticket sales fall significantly after their opening box office weekend, Shang-Chi continues to resonate with moviegoers.
In addition to setting an all-time Labor Day box office record with $75.4 million over three days ($94.6 million over four days), Shang-Chi holds the best second-weekend revenue tally ($34.5 million) of any movie released during the pandemic. Topping Paramount Pictures sequel A Quiet Place Part II’s third-weekend tally of $12 million is well within its grasp.
Shang-Chi‘s primary original contenders include Warner Bros. Pictures’ Cry Macho, starring and directed by 91-year-old Clint Eastwood; and Open Road Film’s Gerald Butler actioner Copshop. Eastwood scored at hit ($17.5 million) in his last movie playing a senior citizen drug courier in The Mule. But social media buzz surrounding Macho is suggesting an opening box office tally more in line with 2019 release Richard Jewell ($4.7 million).
More importantly, Macho is streaming concurrently for free on HBO Max, a hybrid release strategy many observers feel torpedoed Warner’s previous box office release, Malignant, and is projected to generate less than $10 million domestically after two weekends.
Among returning movies, 20th Century Studios’ action comedy Free Guy and Universal Pictures sequel Candyman look to sustain strong box office runs with $4.3 million and $3.3 million in projected domestic ticket sales.