‘Shang-Chi’ Adds $21 Million as Box Office Slows Down

MCU film is set to become the top domestic grossing film of 2021 this week

Shang-Chi Simu Liu
Photo credit: Disney/Marvel Studios

Marvel Studios’ “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” is continuing its strong run at the box office with $21.7 million, bringing its total to $176.9 million and putting it on course to pass “Black Widow” as the highest grossing 2021 film in North America this coming week.

Critical and audience acclaim, combined with its status as a theatrically exclusive film, has turned “Shang-Chi” into a film that has not only been the biggest boost to theaters in months but has also convinced Disney to commit to theatrical exclusivity for the remainder of the year. It is also now on track to become the first film since the pandemic-driven shutdown to gross $200 million in North America.

The one downside for the latest MCU film is that it is being left behind on the Chinese release slate. Even as release dates were set for films like “Dune” (Oct. 22) and “No Time to Die” (Oct. 29) this weekend, the Chinese film board has not approved “Shang-Chi” for release, possibly over star Simu Liu’s status as a Chinese-born actor who has since emigrated to Canada.

“Nomadland” and “Eternals” director Chloe Zhao, also an expat, has taken similar heat from nationalistic corners of Chinese social media, which could lead to not one but two MCU films staying out of Chinese theaters. Without China, “Shang-Chi” has grossed $143.7 million in a COVID-strained overseas market for a $320.6 million global total.

Back in the U.S., “Shang-Chi” is continuing to prop up the box office as the rest of the market has slowed down considerably. 20th Century Studios’ “Free Guy” is No. 2 in its sixth weekend with just under $5 million, giving it a total of $108.3 million.

In third is the sole new release in the Top 5, Warner Bros.’ “Cry Macho” with a $4.5 million opening from 3,967 locations. The result is just below the $5-10 million pre-release projections set by Warner, but a low result was to be expected, as the Clint Eastwood film’s main demographic, 50+ moviegoers, have stayed away from theaters over COVID-19 concerns and opted to see it on HBO Max. Reception has been mixed among critics with a 52% Rotten Tomatoes score while audience reception was slightly better with a B on CinemaScore and a 63% RT score.

Universal’s “Candyman” is in fourth with $3.5 million in its fourth weekend and a $53 million total, while Warner Bros.’ “Malignant” completes the Top 5 with $2.6 million in its second weekend for a $9.7 million 10-day total.

Just outside the Top 5 is Open Road’s action film “Copshop” with a $2.2 million opening weekend from 3,005 locations. Starring Gerard Butler and Frank Grillo, the film has a 79% critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and a 72% audience score.