It was inevitable that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was going to set an opening weekend record for a Labor Day release, when it’s the latest blockbuster to hail from the Marvel Cinematic Universe and Rob Zombie’s Halloween, which has held onto the crown for fourteen years, debuted to a shade above $30 million.
The real question is whether the movie would be able to avoid the ignominy of landing the MCU’s worst first frame, but due to the effects of the pandemic The Incredible Hulk‘s $55 million looks to be out of reach. The good news is that Shang-Chi brought in $8.8 million from Thursday previews, the second-highest of the pandemic era.
That’s above Fast & Furious 9‘s $7.1 million, which translated into a $70 million weekend, although it’s below Black Widow‘s $13.2 million. On the surface, you’d expect that to translate to a similar tally over the three days, but that unfortunately and almost certainly isn’t going to be the case.
Estimates still have Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings on course for a $45-55 million weekend, which is impressive under the current circumstances, although it would still leave it at the bottom of the MCU pile. The martial arts-infused comic book adaptation could realistically go on to dominate through most of September, with no other major blockbusters scheduled for release. A couple of strong holds would be ideal, especially when it doesn’t look like the lucrative Chinese market is on the agenda.