Sep 6, 2021 - Economy

"Shang-Chi" blows past Labor Day weekend box office record

Photo: Disney

Disney's newest Marvel hit, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings," obliterated Labor Day weekend box office records, bringing in a whopping $75.5 million over three days. It's projected to bring in $90 million for the full four-day weekend, according to Comscore.

Why it matters: Its three-day opening was the second-highest so far during the pandemic after Disney's other Marvel hit, "Black Widow," proving the power of the Marvel franchise to lure people to theaters.

  • The previous Labor Day record-holder was MGM's horror film "Halloween," which earned just over $30 million during the long weekend in 2007.

Be smart: "Shang-Chi" was expected to do well in part because it didn't have much competition over the weekend and because of the way it was released.

  • It was the first Marvel film Disney made available exclusively in theaters since the pandemic began.
  • The film has so far brought in over $127 million in total global box office sales, according to Comscore.

Asian turnout helped to fuel ticket sales for Hollywood’s first big-budget, Asian-led superhero film. According to Bloomberg, citing figures from Disney, Asian filmgoers "represented about 17% of theater attendees over the weekend, more than double the usual turnout for a Marvel film."

  • Advocates for greater and more accurate Asian representation will likely view these numbers as an indication that the story of Shang-Chi transcended its ethnic origins. It has a 98% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes, a movie review website.
  • Despite Asian people being the world’s majority and the fastest-growing group of racial or ethnic people in the U.S., they are among the least represented in media.
  • When they are, their roles “are often minimized and imprisoned by Hollywood’s cliches,” Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas wrote on Twitter. “This is why Shang-Chi matters.”

The big picture: The film's success gives the movie theater industry hope heading into the fall that more studios will continue to keep their hits on the release schedule, even as the Delta variant continues to impact consumer confidence broadly.

  • Paramount said last week that it would push the premiere of "Top Gun: Maverick" from November to May 2022 and would postpone the release of "Mission: Impossible 7" from May to September 2022.
  • Overall, the box office is pacing far behind 2019 totals and likely won't be able to recover meaningfully until 2022, analysts tell Axios.

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