It might be a pandemic, and most films are not performing as well as they should be, but that has not stopped a handful of blockbusters from doing the best that is possible under these circumstances. One shining star has been Marvel’s latest blockbuster hit, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The film has now broken yet another pandemic record at the box office with the film becoming the highest-grossing domestic release since COVID-19 struck the world and affected the entire film industry.
Shang-Chi has held the top spot grossing $3.6 million on Friday (September 24) from the 3,952 theaters that are showing the movie. The superhero flick is projected to rake in between $12 to $14 million by the end of this weekend, meaning it would have a -41 percent intake. It is quite impressive to maintain that level as the drop-off for most films this past year has been far greater. Its total domestic box office is $196 million, and as it has not stopped, it should continue to grow significantly.
Deadline reports that analytics corp EntTelligence has seen that 19 percent of the attendance at the Friday showing of Shang-Chi was after 9 p.m., and 16 percent arrived before 3 p.m. to see the film.
Black Widow was the previous record holder of the highest-grossing film in 2021 and the highest-grossing film at the domestic box office. To compare it with Shang-Chi, the final appearance from Scarlett Johansson (Avengers: Infinity War, Endgame) grossed $186.7 million.
The biggest thing to note between Black Widow and Shang-Chi is the distribution method. The former was released in theaters and on Disney Plus simultaneously; meanwhile, the latter was in theaters for 45 days before it could come to the streaming platform, which is slated for November 12. The other difference to keep in mind is that the debut of Simu Liu (Kim’s Convenience) in the franchise was not sold separately on Disney Plus. The plan shifted and it will available for free after its theater run. That is different than the $30 that was charged to see Black Widow starring Scarlett Johansson, Florence Pugh (Little Women), and David Harbour (Stranger Things). It makes for an even more impressive feat for a brand new character like Shang-Chi who is not as well known for non-comic book readers to have such a mighty hold at the box office. Of course, it is Marvel, and the studio has proven to be a mighty force in getting butts in seats at theaters.
Marvel fans have been eager to see how Disney will distribute the rest of the slate of 2021. The lawsuit regarding the release of Black Widow has cast a shadow over everything. Shang-Chi was set for a theatrical release before Disney Plus for $30, which is now free for subscribers of the streaming platform. The latest blockbuster spectacle could prove that November’s Eternals and December’s Spider-Man: No Way Home might follow in those footsteps as charging on Disney Plus has proven to not be a necessity. It would also be interesting for us to keep an eye out for those two upcoming movies as that could affect the 2023 releases considering COVID-19 is still a problem around the world.