As diehard moviegoers reclaim their seats in the wake of a pandemic that has shuttered theaters worldwide, Disney’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is smashing box office records this Labor Day weekend. The blockbuster hit was originally scheduled for release in February.
According to Marvel Unlimited, the adventure film’s action-full plot revolves around the saga of a martial artist who must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization.
With $71.4 million in ticket sales over the holiday, Shang Chi exceeded most industry forecasts to become the second-highest grosser of the plague year, rivaling the $80.3 million raked in by Black Widow just two months ago. Unlike its rival, Shang-Chi is playing exclusively in theaters. The previous highest grosser for the Labor Day weekend had been Halloween ($30.6 million in 2007). It has been reported that Shang-Chi racked up nearly a fifth of its revenue ($13.2 million) from IMAX screens alone. It will be available on Disney Plus in October.
Promoted as Marvel’s first flick with an Asian superhero (Simu Liu) and costars (Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, and Tony Leung), Shang-Chi was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton, a Hawaii-born son of a Japanese American mother and a father of Irish and Slovak ancestry. As a reminder of the impact of the COVID pandemic on the movie industry, production on Shang-Chi was interrupted for five months in Australia when Cretton self-isolated in March 2020.
Despite the production delays, audiences and critics have been showering Shang-Chi with accolades. And the revenue stream will likely increase dramatically when the film is released in China, which has proven to be a reliable cash cow for other Marvel offerings. It’s already been released in Hong Kong, however, as well as the United Kingdom.