Shang-Chi and the Legend of Breaking Box Office Expectations!

shang-chi box office
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (Screengrab: Trailer)

It’s official. The MCU’s latest big-screen offering Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has exceeded expectations. And you know what? Good for her!

As Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings neared the September 3, 2021 release date, numerous pieces of content popped up online. Many wondered about how an MCU film featuring the franchise’s first leading Asian superhero would fare against the current strained box office climate. Not only that, there was controversy over TPTB calling the release of Shang-Chi an experiment, and implying that the studio wasn’t really giving the film the support it needed. There were also talks about how actor Simu Liu wasn’t “attractive” enough to play a leading superhero.

Shang-Chi movie experiment MCU
Image via Twitter – @SimuLiu

And of course, we had the usual so-called “think pieces”, especially on YouTube, talking about how no one was interested in watching a solo film about Shang-Chi and how it was another step for the MCU to go “woke” and slowly transforming into the MSheU. (Captain Marvel continues to have such people pressed! Carol Danvers is a freaking fictional character. She is not real. So try and chill for a bit.)

With a lot of stuff seemingly not in Shang-Chi‘s favor prior to its debut, the initial industry expectations had the domestic opening weekend to be in the $35-$40 million window. However, now that the actual numbers have started to come in, I’m glad to share that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings got to celebrate a $75 million 3-day opening with the 4-day (Labor Day weekend) helping it hit the $90 million mark. The international gross came in at $56 million for a worldwide gross of $146 million against a reported $150 million production budget. (via Box Office Mojo)

I mean, for an Asian-led film introducing an entirely new character to the MCU, that’s not bad. Not bad at all. I guess, there actually were a ton of people interested in watching Shang-Chi and willing to make a trip to the theater, contrary to what certain “content creators” were saying over the past couple of months. Big surprise!

Like, seriously, a bunch of them should consider reevaluating their life choices because currently, it looks like their schedule includes spending hours creating videos about fictional characters (mostly women and PoC) just to fuel online arguments. There are already rumors swirling about how Disney, allegedly, bought tickets to inflate the opening numbers. Sigh! Some people will never take a break. Like, who hurt you? Again, repeat after me… Carol Danvers is not real.

With these particular box office numbers, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was able to set a new box office record for the Labor Day weekend. While that’s a good thing, to be fair, breaking said record was never going to be tough for an MCU offering considering the previous record-holder was 2007’s Halloween with $30.6 million. Shang-Chi‘s performance has definitely changed the game for Hollywood. Don’t be surprised if we get to see some big-budget films taking over the Labor Day weekend spot from now on.

As for the film’s performance compared to the rest of the MCU, the 3-day count is lower than Black Widow‘s $80.3 million. Take note; Black Widow was also made available on Premier Access. So, one can argue Black Widow could have opened even higher sans Premier Access availability.

However, such a 3-day opening puts Shang-Chi above Thor ($65.7 million), Ant-Man ($57.2 million), Captain America: The First Avenger ($65 million), and just a tad bit behind Ant-Man and the Wasp ($75.8 million). The fact Shang-Chi was able to come ahead of a handful of MCU films while being released during a pandemic is impressive. (via Box Office Mojo)

While the first week’s performance deserves applause, many are going to be keeping an eye on how Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will do during the second and third weeks at the box office. Now, those numbers are sure to help inform Disney’s decision about whether the upcoming Eternals will need to be a theatrical-only release or it should simultaneously be made available on Premier Access.

Personally, I would like Eternals to have a dual release so I can go ahead and record my reaction video covering the queer representation it is supposed to have.

Have you watched Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings? What did you think of it?

Don’t forget to read our review!

Author: Farid-ul-Haq

Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.


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