“Shang-Chi” has set a new milestone for the pandemic box office, becoming the first film since theaters shut down back in March 2020 to gross $200 million at the domestic box office.
Disney announced that the Marvel Studios film hit that milestone as it enters its fifth weekend in theaters, having taken the No. 1 spot on the charts through every weekend in September. Released exclusively in theaters, the film has already topped the $183.5 million domestic total of fellow MCU film “Black Widow” and is set to pass that film’s $378.7 million global total this weekend. The last film to gross $200 million domestically was “Bad Boys For Life” in February 2020.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been known for consistently releasing crowd pleasers that always get critical reception that is at least fairly positive along with glowing adoration from its millions of fans. But even by those high standards, “Shang-Chi” has been one of the most acclaimed films in the MCU, earning praise from critics and audiences on the level of top films like “Black Panther” and “Avengers: Endgame” with an A on CinemaScore and critics/audience Rotten Tomatoes score that are both above 90%.
Thanks to that glowing praise, the film obliterated the Labor Day weekend box office record with a 4-day opening of $94.6 million, more than triple the $30.5 million record for the weekend set by Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” in 2007. A weak September release slate led by tepidly received films like “Cry Macho” and “Dear Evan Hansen” allowed “Shang-Chi” to remain the film of choice for moviegoers throughout the month, legging out much better than “Black Widow” which saw repeat viewings from fans in theaters siphoned off in part by the film’s availablity as a premium title on Disney+.
The success of “Shang-Chi” as well as 20th Century Studios’ “Free Guy” has led Disney to announce that all of its remaining films this year will be released exclusively in theaters. The animated film “Encanto” will get a 30-day theatrical exclusive release starting on Thanksgiving weekend ahead of a Disney+ release on Christmas Eve. All other films from the studio, including the MCU film “Eternals,” will be in theaters exclusively for 45 days.