Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings easily took the weekend box office setting a Labor Day weekend record… but all is not perfect. The film earned an estimated $75.4 million over the three day weekend and is projected to earn between $83 and $90 million over the four days. The previous weekend best was Rob Zombie’s Halloween which earned $30.5 million in 2007. The film also earned $56.2 million internationally for a worldwide debut of $127.6 million.
Where things can be debated is whether the “theater only” strategy paid off for Disney and Marvel Studios.
In July, Black Widow debuted with $80.4 million domestically and $78 million internationally. In both of those measurements that film did better than Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings but it also debuted on Disney+ for an extra $30 plus subscriptions and reportedly generated an additional $60 million. That offer wasn’t available for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. So, did the film miss out on revenue?
What can be argued is that the lack of a Disney+ didn’t boost box office receipts like theaters might have expected. Black Widow so far is the top opening film of the year and Shang-Chi is second beating F9 by about $1 million. Theater owners will argue the lack of digital release did help to boost Shang-Chi‘s debut due to the record setting weekend. But, when it comes to “origin” films, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is on the lower end of Marvel Cinematic Universe debut earnings with only The Incredible Hulk, Ant-Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, and Thor lower. And, when adjusted for inflation only Ant-Man is lower with The Incredible Hulk being close with $70.3 million. Disney likely lost out on money by not releasing the film on Disney+.
What really needs to be watched is the film’s second weekend and if it sees a massive drop-off like Black Widow though the two are very different in reviews with Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings receiving much higher reviews from both critics and the audience. It’s possible a positive word of mouth will soften the second weekend drop. What’s clear is that audiences are being picky about what they see in theaters in the age of COVID. Studios need to be much more strategic for the next year in deciding what to release only in theaters and what to dual release on-demand.
In second place was Candyman which dropped 52% from its debut weekend. The film earned an estimated $10.6 million to bring its domestic total to $39.1 million. Internationally, the film earned about $5.7 million over the week to bring that to $10.9 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed a little over $50 million after two weeks.
Free Guy slipped one spot to third earning an estimated $8.7 million. Domestically, the film has grossed $91.9 million after four weeks. Over the week the film added an impressive $47.1 million to bring that to $147.4 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $239.3 million.
PAW Patrol: The Movie grossed an estimated $4 million to bring its domestic total to $30.3 million. $12.5 million was added to its international total over the week to bring that to $50.3 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $80.6 million.
Rounding out the top five was Jungle Cruise which added a little under $4 million to its domestic total. It now has grossed $105.6 million. Its international total stands at $86.9 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $192.5 million.
In comic films…
The Suicide Squad came in at #8 with an estimated $905,000. Domestically, the film has grossed $54.4 million. The film added $16 million to its international gross to bring that to $108.1 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $162.5 million.
Black Widow came in at #9 with an estimated $748,000. Domestically, the film has grossed $182.5 million. The international total has held steady at $189.6 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $372.1 million.
Old was #12 with an estimated $470,000. Domestically, the film has grossed $47.3 million. Internationally, the film added about $500,000 to its total over the week to bring that to $38 million. Worldwide, the film has grossed $85.3 million.
Initial numbers have 45 films earning $110,438,478 from 30,852 theaters. That’s around $45 million more than last weekend’s 51 films which earned $61,351,651 from 37,222 theaters. The average earning was $3,579.62 this past weekend, over double the previous weekend’s $1,648.26.