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"Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" broke box office records over Labor Day weekend, but what comes after is what concerns Simu Liu.  

What they're saying: "I worry that this is a flash in the pan … a single moment that will disappear in time and not a part of a greater movement," he told me Wednesday morning.

Catch up quick: "Shang-Chi," Hollywood’s first big-budget superhero movie to feature an Asian lead, brought in over $94 million in the U.S. in its four days.

Background: There were doubts about the film’s success, particularly in theaters given the rise of the Delta variant.

  • Disney CEO Bob Chapek called the movie, which would only be in theaters for 45 days before moving to Disney+, an "experiment." (Liu told me his now-viral tweet was not a "targeted attack on any individual.")
"Shang-Chi" star Simu Liu. Photo: Ryan Emberley/Getty Images for Disney

Why it matters: The film also helped rally the Asian community together after more than a year of facing racist attacks. 

  • Having an Asian superhero in the MCU is important, he added, but "if it was just one and nothing after it, I think that would be really sad. And that would be a failure on some parts. So I would just hope that the momentum keep going … and more communities are able to see their superheroes."
  • More than double the number of Asian filmgoers for Marvel films turned out for "Shang-Chi," according to Disney. 
  • "This was never meant to be just a movie for Asian people or just a movie for Asian Americans," Liu said when asked about the turnout. 

Yes, but: When asked how “Shang-Chi” resonated differently and on top of the success of “Crazy Rich Asians” in 2018, Liu said that his film “reconnects” Asian people with their heritage and culture.

  • His character, whose American name is Shaun, is forced to come to terms with his background, said Liu, journeying in the movie to an ancestral homeland to get to the root of his identity in order to accept it and celebrate it. 

The intrigue: Because of the racist origins of the film’s characters, Chinese regulators have not yet approved the movie for distribution in China, according to reports

  • Liu, who was born in Harbin, a city in northern China, said he hopes the film will be seen there.
  • "I consider China part of my story, a part of my background and heritage," he said.
  • Against the political divisiveness that he sees, Liu said he "love[s] the idea that we can all sit back and watch the same movie and laugh and feel something and feel connected to one another somehow."
  • China is also an important market for Marvel, which has seen 10% to 20% of its box office revenue from the country. 

Go deeper: Marvel's "Shang-Chi" strikes at unique moment

Go deeper

Oct 5, 2021 - World

Russian crew takes off to film first movie in space

From left: Actor Yulia Peresild, cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov and director Klim Shipenko. Photo: Roscosmos Press Service/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

A Russian director and an actor blasted off into space on Tuesday to film the world's first movie in orbit, AP reports.

State of play: Director Klim Shipenko and actor Yulia Peresild took off to the International Space Station along with cosmonaut Anton Shkaplerov. They are set to stay in orbit for 12 days filming segments for their movie, "Challenge."

Study: Fear of debt keeps Latinos out of college

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Fear of never being able to pay off school loans is keeping many young Latinos in the U.S. from going to college or completing a degree, according to a report published in September.

State of play: Latinos tend to have more difficulty repaying school debt than white student borrowers, according to Federal Reserve data, at the same time that they need more loans in order to afford tuition.

1 hour ago - World

Scoop: Biden administration objects to Israeli settlements plan

Israeli PM Naftali Bennett (L) meets with Secretary of State Tony Blinken. Photo: Olivier Douliery/Pool/AFP via Getty

The Biden administration has privately protested to the Israeli government over its plan to approve the planning and construction of more than 3,000 new housing units in the Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, sources briefed on the issue tell me.

Why it matters: The approvals for new homes in the settlements will be the first since President Biden assumed office, and come after Biden and his top aides personally pressed Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to restrain settlement activity and decrease the number of new housing units.