09/06/21 UPDATE: At the time of writing this article, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was projected to earn $83.5 million on the labor day weekend. According to Variety, the film has amassed $90 million in its first four days, positioning itself as the most profitable pandemic-era theatrical-exclusive release and, as a result, Sony Pictures moved Venom: Let There Be Carnage from October 15th to October 1st. You can read the original article below:
After being qualified by Disney’s CEO Bob Chapek as an “experiment”, Destin Daniel Cretton’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings exceeded all projections and box-office tracking by delivering the second most successful opening weekend of the COVID-19 pandemic, opening at $71.4 million, behind Marvel’s Black Widow, which opened at $80.3 million. However, over the four-day labor day weekend, it will have made more than Black Widow, projecting to earn $83.5 million once the 4-day weekend is over. This is not only a huge win for Disney and Marvel Studios as more films could’ve faced potential delays due to the emergence of the Delta Variant of COVID, but it has also showcased the viability of a theatrical-exclusive experience and that, no matter the situation we’re living in, there is always an audience ready to go see the latest films in cinemas, especially after being confined in their houses for more than eighteen months.
What’s more impressive about its box-office numbers is that Shang-Chi has broken a fourteen-year-old Labor Day record, held by Rob Zombie’s 2007 remake of John Carpenter’s Halloween, which earned $30.6 million opening weekend, back when the word “COVID” did not even exist. Factor in the Delta-driven wave we’re currently living in, and you’ve got one of the biggest box-office earners of the year. I personally doubt that the film will drop as drastically as Black Widow did during its second weekend, solely due to strong word of mouth by critics and fans, but also because of the film’s 45-day theatrical exclusivity and may very well become a bigger success than Black Widow in the long run. This should also show promise to studios who were about to begin a game of chicken with their films (Paramount delayed all of their remaining films to 2022, whereas Sony slowly moved some of their films…I bet they regretted moving Venom: Let There Be Carnage for a month now), and release them as planned. Constantly delaying films does theatres more harm than good, and Shang-Chi’s box-office results just proved that audiences are ready to go back and embrace a damn good movie again.
Of course, it doesn’t mean that they will not reach the same pre-pandemic box-office heights (recovery may still take a long time), but beating a pre-pandemic box-office record for a weekend that’s usually cursed for tentpole releases is proof that we are indeed on the path to box-office recovery and we may soon get a film opening at $100 million, whether it’s a Marvel film or another highly anticipated blockbuster like No Time to Die. Let’s hope these films don’t get delayed again.