Box Office Breakdown: ‘Shang-Chi’ fights off its competition

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After a record-setting opening last weekend, “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” headed into its second week with high expectations. After its four-day $94 million debut, many analysts wondered how well it would hold this weekend, especially after the major drop-off “Black Widow” endured.  

In its second weekend, back in July, “Black Widow” fell 67.8%, earning the title of steepest drop for a Marvel Cinematic Universe film. That film was also released on Disney+ Premier Access, thus losing additional theatrical box-office revenue, making this statistic not necessarily empirically correct. There was reason to fear “Shang-Chi” would face a similar fate in its second weekend. 

“Shang-Chi” proved those fears wrong, turning in a weekend gross of just under $36 million, making its weekend-to-weekend drop right at 52.5%. Bear in mind this drop is based on the film’s previous Friday to Sunday gross, even though last weekend’s box office included Labor Day. That is a very solid drop for a superhero film, whose opening weekends are usually front-loaded. If the movie’s strong word of mouth continues, we could see a domestic gross north of $250 million. 

Coming in second place this weekend, yet again, is Ryan Reynolds’ “Free Guy” in its fifth week in theaters. With a gross just over $5.8 million, the film continues to hold well, finally crossing $100 million. That is enough to place at No. 6 in the yearly domestic box office. We will see if it has enough momentum to reach a gross that will keep it in the top 10 for the rest of the year. However, that is quite the tall task, especially when you look at the films coming down the stretch at the end of the year. 

In third place, “Malignant” opened its box office run with a gross north of $5.5 million. This is a disappointing total considering its $40 million price tag, especially when you consider the fact that horror films usually have poor holds week-to-week. Some of this gross may have been poached by viewership from HBO Max, as this film had a day-and-date release on the service. Nonetheless, this opening is quite disappointing and it would be a surprise if “Malignant” appears in the top five next week. 

Finishing in fourth and fifth are “Candyman” and “Jungle Cruise” earning $4.8 million and $2.5 million, respectively. “Jungle Cruise” keeps on chugging, even in its seventh weekend of release, earning close to $110 million at the domestic box office. 

Unfortunately, its reign in the top five may be at risk next weekend with the wide release of four new films. These include: “The Eyes of Tammy Faye,” “Blue Bayou,” “Copshop” and “Cry Macho.” Of these four, I would say only “Tammy Faye,” “Copshop” and “Cry Macho” stand a chance at making the top five, with the latter most likely leading this batch of films next weekend. 

However, this may not be the case, because as always, the only thing predictable about the box office is its unpredictability. 

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