Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings stayed on top at the box office, collecting $35.8 million in ticket sales in its second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday. That was the best second-weekend gross of any film during the pandemic, edging out the previous Marvel movie, Black Widow. This year, few films have held well in theaters. Shang-Chi is playing exclusively in theaters, and its second-week drop, 53%, was relatively modest. In two weeks of release, it has grossed $247.6 million globally. At its current pace, Shang-Chi, the first Marvel movie to star an Asian superhero (played by Simu Liu), may become the top summer release at the North American box office.
Globally, its path is less certain. Shang-Chi doesn't have a release date in China. Worldwide, Universal's Fast and Furious sequel F9 has fared better than any other pandemic release with more than $714 million in ticket sales. The $90 million four-day Labor Day weekend opening for Shang-Chi was widely seen as an encouraging sign for the industry amid the coronavirus surge in the US. On Friday, Disney announced that all of its remaining 2021 releases, including Marvel's Eternals, will open exclusively in theaters and not land on Disney+ at the same time. That was how Black Widow opened, prompting a lawsuit from star Scarlett Johansson.
Warner Bros.' Malignant, a horror thriller directed by James Wan, was the only sizable new competition for Shang-Chi. It debuted softly with $5.6 million. Overseas, it added $6.3 million from 69 markets. Like all Warner Bros. releases this year, Malignant was also released on HBO Max for subscribers. The studio has said it will return to debuting films with an exclusive theatrical window next year. The weak debut for Malignant allowed Disney to also take the second spot this weekend. The Ryan Reynolds action comedy Free Guy, from Disney's 20th Century Studios, grossed $5.8 million in its fifth week of release, bringing its domestic tally to $101.5 million. It has made $276 million worldwide.
(Read more box office