With domestic opening predictions as low as $30 million, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings opened to a stellar $71.4 million Labor Day weekend at the box office, shattering expectations. The MCU’s newest origin story now owns the highest Labor Day opening of all time while also achieving the second-highest opening weekend of the pandemic. Marvel currently owns the pandemic’s two highest opening weekend performances, with Black Widow at number one after raking in $80.3 million, and Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings after narrowly beating out F9 for the second spot. Shang-Chi’s opening weekend also outperformed four MCU origin stories at the box office, beating Captain America: The First Avenger, Thor, Ant-Man, and The Incredible Hulk. In its first five days, the film also became the first film of the pandemic to earn $100 million. All of this is potentially indicative of a rise in moviegoers and future overall box office success.
A generally negative feeling was looming in the film industry after the highly anticipated The Suicide Squad opened to a $26.1 million performance. Some thought about whether a majority of the year’s remaining blockbusters would be delayed to 2022 and beyond. Thanks to Shang Chi’s opening performance, it seems that movie fans won’t have to worry about that for much longer. Venom: Let There Be Carnage was the first film to act on the film’s success, moving the theatrical release date from October 15th to an October 1st debut. This was likely due in part to the massive success of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. This past week, Disney and Marvel also decided that Eternals will remain a theatrical release, along with the remaining films on Disney’s 2021 slate. As movie performances hit all-time lows towards the end of summer, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings may have saved movies for the remainder of the year.
IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond recently spoke about Shang-Chi’s opening weekend, stating, “I think people don’t understand how important the last week was.” He also went on to talk about Venom: Let There Be Carnage and the film’s new release date. “There’s no question in my mind that the result of ‘Shang-Chi’ influenced that.” With the rest of the year’s films likely to release on time, confidence is building for continual growth in box office performances. But, with blockbuster movies such as Spider-Man: No Way Home, Eternals, and Venom: Let There Be Carnage yet to be released, it remains to be seen whether positive box office performances can continue as projected. If Eternals can replicate Shang-Chi’s success, it would be a significant victory for Marvel Studios. I feel a solid projection of $70-$100 million is a fair estimate for Eternals’ opening weekend, with the film once again confirmed to be a theatrical exclusive.
The remaining MCU film on everyone’s mind is Spider-Man: No Way Home, a film that recently broke the record for the most viewed trailer in 24 hours. No film has reached this level of hype since Avengers: Endgame. With the soon-to-be confirmed Tobey Maguire, Andrew Garfield, Charlie Cox, and Willem Dafoe joining a confirmed cast of Tom Holland, Zendaya, Marisa Tomei, Jacob Batalon, Benedict Cumberbatch, Alfred Molina, and Jaime Foxx, this film continues to ooze box office appeal. Under normal box office circumstances, this film could have done well over $300 million on its opening weekend, competing with Avengers: Endgame for the highest domestic box office opening of all time. But living in pandemic times and being realistic, this film could perform $125-175$ million on its opening weekend. Marvel is likely to reveal more than usual in its second trailer for Spider-Man: No Way Home trailer, probably to help boost the box office performance in December. Of course, all of this is barring any major setbacks from Covid-19, such as a new variant development.
Without any proper setbacks, the film industry could see a massive resurgence, Seeing the MCU and other franchises return to prominence in the film industry. If 2021 finishes strong, 2022 films such as Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, The Marvels, The Flash, The Batman, Black Adam, and Jurassic World: Dominion could return to standard box office numbers. Of course, all of this was jump-started by Marvel’s newest Avenger, Shang-Chi.
What do you think of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings box office performance? Let us know in the comments down below!