“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” kicked off its box office in Thursday night previews by making $8.8 million from screenings beginning at 6 p.m. It opens on 4,300 screens over the long Labor Day holiday weekend.
“Shang-Chi” is projected for a $40 million start, which would be well below the opening of the last Marvel movie, “Black Widow,” but would be big enough to surpass the record for a movie opening on the long Labor Day holiday weekend, the previous record being just $30.5 million in 2007 across the four days. And “Shang-Chi’s” Thursday start is the second highest total of the pandemic behind only “Black Widow,” which made $13.2 million back in July.
“Shang-Chi” is the first Marvel movie in some time with an entirely fresh face of new characters, launching a new superhero and franchise as played by Simu Liu. But this is a Marvel movie we’re talking about, so fan anticipation is still high, earning a 99% audience verified score on Rotten Tomatoes. Critic reaction has been positive as well, with a 71 score on Metacritic and 92% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes. And unlike “Black Widow,” “Shang-Chi” is opening exclusively in theaters rather than day-and-date on Disney+ with Premier Access.
Comparisons have been tough during the pandemic, but when compared to other Marvel films launching new characters, “Ant-Man” from 2015 made $6.4 million in previews and opened to $57.2 million. “Doctor Strange” made $9.4 million in previews in 2016 and wound up with an $85 million start. And “Black Widow” during the pandemic got $13.2 million in its previews and made $80 million in its debut, while also earning $60 million from Disney+ worldwide.
“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” stars Simu Liu as the title character who must confront the past he thought he left behind when he is drawn into the web of the mysterious Ten Rings organization. The film features a largely Asian cast and is inspired heavily by martial arts films and fighting styles.
Starring alongside Liu are Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh, Ying Nan, Tony Leung, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, Yuen Wah, Ronny Chieng, Zach Cherry and Dallas Liu. Destin Daniel Cretton is directing the film that’s produced by Kevin Feige and Jonathan Schwartz, with Louis D’Esposito, Victoria Alonso and Charles Newirth serving as executive producers.