While it may be hard to predict anything about movie releases right now, it looks like early predictions about Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings were almost spot on as the movie heads to triple the current box office record for Labor Day weekend. Considering the current state of the cinemas, that is by no way an easy achievement, but there are a number of factors contributing to the numbers.
The weekend is usually seen as box office black hole, with big releases avoiding it under normal circumstances, thinking that people would rather be outside during the holiday weekend, so the competition comes down to Rob Zombie's 2007 version of Halloween, which took $30.5 million on its opening weekend. Shang-Chi managed to pull in just under $30 million on its opening day, and has been projected to take $70 million in its first three days, and a total of around $86 million over the holiday weekend altogether.
As well as obliterating the Labor Day weekend record, the haul will also put Shang-Chi in the same area as the three day opening of F9 earlier in the summer, a sequel that only opened movie theaters, in something that is clearly going to put a few smiles on the faces of the Disney's analysts who have been watching Shang-Chi' s performance before making a final decision on the release of future movies such as November's Eternals, which will surely now go ahead as a theatrical only release based on this outcome.
Shang-Chi has not just been a hit with audiences, but it seems the critics are also on board in a way that almost echoes the reaction to Black Panther when it was released. Currently, the movie is sitting on an amazing 98% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes and has a 92% fresh score on the site. There have been numerous reviews praising the acting, the origin story of one of Marvel's lesser known characters, the martial arts sequences and choreography, and how its closing credit scenes help to fully integrate Shang-Chi into the MCU.
Shang-Chi actor Simu Liu originally joked when the first Rotten Tomatoes score of 86% was released, saying "'86% on RottenTomatoes? What happened to the other 14?' -my parents, probably." The score has fluctuated up and down a little since those first early numbers, and after reaching a high of 94%, it now seems to have currently settled on 92%. All in all, this is another huge success for Marvel as they look to rebuild a new collection of heroes in the MCU following the events of Avengers: Endgame. While some had doubt about how well the Marvel Cinematic Universe would handle the fallout of its final Phase Three movies, Black Widow and Shang-Chi have proven that there was never anything to worry about, and with Eternals, Spider-Man: No Way Home, and Doctor Strange In The Multiverse of Madness all just around the corner, there is a lot still to come from the franchise.
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is exclusively in theaters now, and is expected to arrive on Disney+ sometime in October.