The opening night box office performance of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is better than F9. After more than two years without a Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Shang-Chi is the second Phase 4 film released in the last two months. The movie is releasing exclusively in theaters after Black Widow received a same-day release in cinemas and on Disney+. This has led to plenty of debate about how well Shang-Chi will perform at the box office, especially with its 45-day exclusive theatrical window.
Disney and Marvel’s decision to keep Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings as an exclusive theatrical release has been the subject of much debate. This was only fueled by Disney CEO Bob Chapek calling Shang-Chi‘s release an experiment, which upset plenty, including star Simu Liu. However, the movie has still been on track to be a hit. The film has received very positive reviews from critics and is projected to break the all-time Labor Day weekend box office opening record. Now that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is out in theaters, the early reports of its performance are promising.
According to a report from Deadline, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings earned $8.8 million in opening night previews. This is higher than the $7.1M opening night F9 had in May, which led to the film posting a $70M opening weekend. Shang-Chi was previously expected to open to $45M over the four-day Labor Day weekend, but it could outperform those expectations now. For reference, this still trails Black Widow‘s box office performance, as it opened to a pandemic-best $13.2M opening night and $80.3M opening weekend.
The strong opening night for Shang-Chi is a good sign for the overall interest in the movie and its opening weekend potential. Marvel movies traditionally perform well on opening night as fans flock to the theaters to be among the first people to see them and avoid spoilers. It is unclear how front-loaded Shang-Chi‘s opening weekend will be, especially since the MCU film is led by a new hero and not one audiences already know, like Black Widow. But, if Shang-Chi can remain ahead of F9‘s box office performance, the movie will dramatically overperform based on industry tracking.
Shang-Chi‘s box office performance is likely to be a huge barometer for Hollywood and the remaining 2021 movie slate. There are reports that Disney could delay Eternals again or add a Disney+ release option if Shang-Chi underperforms. Other major blockbusters like No Time To Die, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, and Dune could move too. Top Gun: Maverick already vacated 2021 to secure a summer 2022 release. Hopefully, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings does perform well and keep Disney and other studios feeling optimistic about the state of movie theaters.