Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings continues to outperform expectations, with a strong Monday gross rounding off a stellar Labor Day weekend performance for the movie. The Destin Daniel Cretton film is the 25th entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and the second movie to kick off the MCU Phase Four following the July release of Black Widow. The eagerly anticipated Asian-led superhero movie stars Canadian actor Simu Liu in the lead role as an assassin, who flees the mysterious Ten Rings organization seeking an everyday life in San Francisco.
The film has already been ground-breaking as it represents the first-ever Asian-led superhero film and an MCU debut for the character of Shang-Chi. The origin story focuses on the fish out of water approach that worked so well with the Thor movies. American rapper and actress Awkwafina stars as Shang-Chi’s best friend Katy, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon star, and former Bond girl Michelle Yeoh appears as Ying Nan, and legendary Hong Kong superstar Tony Leung appears as Xu Wenwu, Shang-Chi’s father. Asian-American director Cretton, whose previous credits include the Michael B. Jordan vehicle Just Mercy, directs from a screenplay he co-wrote with Andrew Lanham and Dave Callaham.
Early projections believed the movie would perform well, but, as reported by ComicBook.com, it has far outperformed expectations, with its record-breaking Monday bringing in a Labor Day weekend four-day of $94 million. This total far exceeds the previous Labor Day weekend total of $30.5 million, set by Rob Zombie’s Halloween remake back in 2007, and set the record for the highest-grossing Monday ever for a movie during the pandemic, with $18.9 million. Additionally, the film ranks as the 28th biggest Monday box office gross of all time, surpassing the $18.89 million recorded by The Avengers in 2012.
Labor Day weekend is typically a slow weekend at the box office. Still, Shang-Chi’s healthy performance suggests movie-goers are defying history and flooding back to theaters as the world returns to some degree of normalcy. With a 92% ‘Top Critics’ approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, as well as an exciting cast of fresh, young talent combined with seasoned legends, the future looks bright for Marvel and the MCU as Phase Four shows no signs of slowing down. Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home are two other movies from MCU Phase Four set for release this year, with Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness due to hit theaters in March 2022.
With Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings breaking box office records, it could well be the case that we see the character of Shang-Chi appearing in other Marvel vehicles in the future and a mid-credit sequence featuring MCU fan favorites certainly hints at this. After its exclusive 45-day theater run, the movie is set to be released on Disney+ for audiences to enjoy at home. In the meantime, Disney will be hoping the film can continue its strong display at the box office, and, at this stage, there’s no telling what Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings might achieve.
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