For the pandemic, Disney/Marvel’s Shang-Chi and the Legend of Ten Rings posted a solid Thursday night preview gross –especially before a slow Labor Day box office frame– of $8.8M from showtimes that began at 6PM. On the high side, that figure is above the Thursday night start of Universal’s F9 which posted $7.1M before slotting the second best opening day of the pandemic of $29.9M (previews repped 24% of that number) and second best weekend of $70M. We had been hearing that advance ticket sales were running ahead of F9 and A Quiet Place Part II, so Shang-Chi‘s Thursday makes sense.
The question is how front-loaded Thursday is in regards to the rest of the weekend; but there’s a lot of hope that this movie will be a sleeper that feasibly owns the month of September. The Destin Daniel Cretton-directed Marvel Cinematic Universe title opens in 4,300 locations today. Total global launch is between $90M-$100M. A domestic record Labor Day weekend opening is in store, besting the $30.6M 4-day start of 2007’s Halloween.
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Shang-Chi‘s Thursday is less than Black Widow‘s $13.2M. Now, before someone goes out defending the theatrical day-and-date model, that Scarlett Johansson movie hitting Disney+ Premier on its opening day, note that it goes back to product, and Black Widow was a long-awaited Marvel movie held throughout the pandemic. Not to mention, Shang-Chi is deeper universe MCU, and a new hero to the big screen. Audiences will find him. Black Widow posted the biggest opening day during the pandemic and weekend respectively with $39.5M and $80.3M. Black Widow‘s Thursday night repped 33% of its opening Friday.
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Separately, in a Fandango 1,500 moviegoers poll earlier in the week, 90% are looking forward to the star-making performance of Simi Lui as Shang-Chi, 89% are excited to see the first MCU movie led by an Asian and Asian American cast, while 88% want to see how the film will continue Marvel’s Phase 4 storyline.