‘Shang-Chi’ and the Legend of Two Weekend Box Office ‘Rings’

Disney/Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings continued its reign at the domestic weekend box office, generating a projected $35.8 million in revenue through Sept. 12. The Asian-American-led actioner has tallied $145 million at North American screens ($257.6 million globally).

Runner-up: Disney-owned 20th Century Studios release Free Guy, starring Ryan Reynolds, which generated $5.8 million across 3,650 screens in its fifth week of release. The action comedy has now topped $100 million at the domestic box office.

The final podium spot went to Warner Bros. Pictures’ new release Malignant, which generated $5.57 million across 3,485 screens. The disappointing box office likely undermined by the movie’s concurrent availability to HBO Max subscribers.

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Universal Pictures’ horror film Candyman generated $4.8 million ($48 million total) in its third weekend, followed by Disney’s Jungle Cruise with $2.1 million ($109.7 million) after seven weeks of release.

‘Black Widow’ vs. King James in Weekend Box Office Face-Off

Superhero movie Black Widow goes up against Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James at the domestic weekend box office through July 18. James is starring in Space Jam: A New Legacy, Warner Bros. Pictures’ Looney Tunes animated/live-action sequel to the 1996 original Space Jam featuring Michael Jordan.

While the original generated more than $230 million at the global box office, A New Legacy is not expected to top Disney/Marvel Studios’ Widow featuring Scarlett Johansson in the title role. The movie has topped $200 million at the worldwide box office, including $100 million in the U.S. — becoming just the fourth release to do that in the pandemic era.

Other movies surpassing $100 million domestically include Paramount Pictures’ A Quiet Place Part II with $150 million, Universal Pictures’ F9: The Fast Saga ($141.9 million), and Warner’s Godzilla vs. Kong ($100.6  million).

An unknown factor in the weekly box office sweepstakes: a surge in COVID-19 cases fueled by the Delta variant, which has led Los Angeles County health officials to mandate the wearing of masks indoors, including in movie theaters, beginning at midnight on Saturday. It is unknown whether these and similar restrictions in other parts of the country will impact movie theater attendance.

The weekend’s other major newcomer is Sony Pictures Entertainment’s thriller Escape Room: Tournament of Champions.

Disney/Marvel’s ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Highest-Grossing First-Week Digital Sales in the U.K.

As expected, Disney/Marvel Studios’s release of superhero movie Avengers: Endgame is setting retail and rental records worldwide.

The title ended its first week (eight days) of release in the United Kingdom as the highest-grossing digital title ever with 335,400 downloads, according to The Official Charts.

The tally topped the previous record-setter, 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment’s Oscar-winning Bohemian Rhapsody with 265,000 downloads.

Previous Avengers movie Avengers: Infinity War holds the third spot as the best-selling U.K. digital release with first-week unit sales of 253,000 in 2012.

‘Captain Marvel’ Soaring to Digital May 28, Disc June 11 From Disney

Captain Marvel will fly to digital in HD and 4K Ultra HD (including Movies Anywhere) May 28, and land on Blu-ray and 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray June 11 from Disney, Direct to Consumer and International.

The home release dates were revealed during the May 8 espnW Summit NYC, at which Marvel Studios hosted a Captain Marvel panel.

The film, which has surpassed $1 billion at the box office worldwide, chronicles the origin story of the female superhero.

The release includes featurettes that highlight the transformative journey of Brie Larson (Captain Marvel) and her character’s impact on audiences around the globe; the influence of Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) on significant events within the Marvel Cinematic Universe; the pairing of directors Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck; the ongoing conflict between the Skrulls and the Kree; and the talent behind the feline named Goose. Viewers also gain access to six deleted scenes, director commentary, a gag reel, and never-before-seen concept art and production photography.

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The digital release includes two exclusive features, including a behind-the-scenes visit with the visual effects team and an inside look at the team effort that goes into an action sequence in a Marvel Studios film.

At the panel, Marvel also unveiled a new trailer.

‘Avengers: Infinity War’ to Hit Netflix Dec. 25

Disney may be leaving Netflix, but not without a parting Christmas gift.

The Disney/Marvel blockbuster Avengers: Infinity War, which has earned more than $678.8 million at the box office, will come out on the streaming platform on Christmas day, according to Netflix.

The streaming platform’s NX on Netflix Twitter account tweeted, “Oh, snap. Avengers: Infinity War is coming to @Netflix on December 25.”

Disney is readying the unveiling of its own streaming service in 2019, Disney+, which will be fueled by Disney content, including that from Marvel and Lucasfilm, which has the “Star Wars” franchise.

After helping grow Netflix with a streaming deal in 2012, The Walt Disney Co. in 2017 announced it would be withdrawing its content from the service to build its own subscription platform.

At a May 14, 2018, MoffettNathanson Media & Communications Summit in New York, Netflix CCO Ted Sarandos was asked about the impact of Disney going direct-to-consumer and the pending loss of its original movies.

“People always ask me, ‘Where you surprised Disney is going to go direct?’ I don’t know what took them so long, exactly,” said Sarandos.

Still, he said the loss of Disney content wasn’t much of a blow.

“[Our subs] watch [Disney movies], but it wasn’t particularly passionate watching and those films are widely available on a bunch of other channels,” Sarandos said.

Bob Iger Reiterates Disney’s OTT Future

When CEO Bob Iger announced Disney would cease distributing original movies through Netflix in 2019, he was laying the foundation for a proprietary direct-to-consumer ecosystem.

Speaking Feb. 26 at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media & Telecom confab in San Francisco, Iger reiterated oft-discussed plans to launch standalone apps around ESPN (dubbed ESPN Plus and bowing in March at $4.99 monthly) and Disney (OTT in 2019) brands.

The CEO conceded technology and SVOD is disrupting the pay-TV ecosystem, with the aforementioned apps giving Disney an opportunity to “participate in the very business that is doing the disrupting.”

The ESPN service will also enable users to add out-of-market access to Major League Baseball games (MLB.tv) and National Hockey League (NHL.tv) matches for a premium.

“I imagine you’ll see that price rise for the augmented service. We have the opportunity to enable customers to buy seasons, teams, weekends,” Iger said.

But it is the Disney OTT service that is generating the most buzz and speculation. Calling the platform a long-term priority for Disney, the service will feature four-to-five original movies and TV series, in addition to theatrical fare, including Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar, according to Iger.

The executive expects to get a better picture of Disney’s OTT window after closing acquisition of 20th Century Fox Film Company.

“We’ll see how that goes and we’ll have a better sense of what kind of volume we can provide,” Iger said.

He said Disney currently has 11 billion-dollar movie franchises, with Black Panther slated to be the 12th – and exclusive to Netflix later this year.

“[We are] competing with ourselves,” Iger said.

Disney/Marvel’s ‘Black Panther’ Smashes Box Office Records, Moviegoer Stereotypes

Disney/Marvel Studios’ Black Panther continues to impress at the box office through its opening weekend.

The superhero action movie featuring an African-American director Ryan Coogler (Creed) and ensemble cast (including “Creed’s” Michael B. Jordan) is projected to generate $218 million through Presidents Day (Feb. 19) – topping the $152.2 million generated by 20th Century Fox’s Deadpool in 2016.

The film also generated $169 million internationally – reportedly No. 15 all-time – despite not yet opening in Russia, China and Japan – the latter No. 1 & 2 foreign theatrical markets.

The 18th movie in the Marvel franchise has injected life in the brand while shattering stereotypes as a culturally significant media event.

Ahead of its release, Panther was seen by some observers as a superhero movie for largely black audiences. Indeed, local media in Atlanta – the largest city in the South with 54% African-American racial makeup – appeared to confirm the projections talking with black moviegoers.

Respondents overwhelmingly said the motivating appeal of the movie was seeing a black action superhero instead of the usual gang member or thug.

“The hero’s black. That’s it,” one moviegoer told 11Alive in Atlanta.

Yet, box office receipts would suggest the success of Panther transcends race – by a wide margin.

African-Americans represented just 15% of moviegoers in 2016, compared to white (51%), Latino (23%) and Asian (11%), according to the Motion Picture Association of America.

Panther has been heavily marketed by Disney on NBC during the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea – the quadrennial televised spectacle that generated 11% black viewers in 2010, according to Nielsen. Indeed, of the 2,952 athletes competing in the Games this year, a mere 43 (1.45%) are black.

More importantly, the movie has generated significant buzz among superhero fans across all demographics. The movie reportedly is the best-reviewed Disney/Marvel release, with a 97% “fresh” rating on content review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes.

“This film represents the winds of change. Hollywood has left money on the table for decades with a shortage of event-level films appealing to more diverse crowds,” Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at boxoffice.com, told CNBC. “This is the kind of shift audiences have waited a long time for.”