Simu Liu stars as Shang-Chi in Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.”
Disney and Marvel Studios’ “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” garnered an estimated $71.4 million at the domestic box office this weekend.
It was the second-highest opening for any film released during the pandemic and the highest of any film released over Labor Day weekend.
“Black Widow” currently holds the title for highest opening during the pandemic with $80 million and the previous record-holder for highest release over the holiday weekend was 2007’s “Halloween,” which took in $26.3 million during its first three days in theaters domestically.
Internationally, “Shang-Chi” tallied another $56.2 million in ticket sales, bringing its estimated global total for Friday, Saturday and Sunday to $127.6 million. Notably, The film has yet to be approved for release in China.
“There is no doubt that the massive brand equity of Marvel boosted ‘Shang-Chi’s’ prospects,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. “[And] a perfectly executed theatrical-first strategy served to rev up interest and excitement among fans.”
“Shang-Chi” is the first Marvel film to be shown exclusively in cinemas since the pandemic began. “Black Widow,” which was released in July, debuted in theaters and on Disney+ premier access on the same day.
Many studios followed a similar release plan throughout the pandemic, opting to make films available in theaters and on streaming services. This strategy was employed at a time when the coronavirus vaccine was just becoming available in the U.S. and audiences were still wary of returning to cinemas.
It has become clear, however, that the dual release has led to cannibalization of theater ticket sales.
Box office analysts foresaw a solid start to the film’s theatrical run, as it had the second-highest advance ticket sales of any 2021 release, just behind “Black Widow,” according to data from Fandango.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal owns Fandango.