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 last box office release: Malignant, and has is projected to generate less than $10 million domestic gross 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.