“Shang-Chi” Blasts Competition for Third Straight Weekend


September 17-19, 2021

(estimates from BoxOfficeMojo.com)

Shang-Chi and the 
Legend of the Ten Rings 
$27.1 million
Free Guy $5.2 million
Cry Macho $4.5 million
Candyman $3.5 million
Malignant $2.6 million

In only three weekends, Shang-Chi is blowing away its competition and the year's record-holders. By next weekend, in which it once again faces little serious competition, it will have surpassed Black Widow to become the year's biggest movie, and will have done so in only 30 days, and without any additional revenue streams. It's mighty impressive. Even though MCU is as big as movies get, this was a somewhat obscure character starring a somewhat obscure actor. A big opening was assured, but the holds and repeat business weren't.

That lack of competition meant Free Guy remained in second place, even though it was separated from first by nearly $22 million. A tiny drop of only 6.8 percent has made this one of the leggiest movies of 2021. That's good news for theaters, who don't get as big a cut of revenue from the first couple weekends.
Cry Macho, the latest film from 91-year-old director and star Clint Eastwood, took in a weak $4.5 million. Though the demographic for such a picture isn't those who rush out to see a movie opening weekend, the studio was likely expecting more. The film also played on HBO Max.  Horror movies rounded out the top 5, with Candyman and Malignant. The former has a more austere style and more on its mind, but the latter is absolutely insane in its final act. Both would be a blast to see with an audience.
Outside the top 5:
  • This Weekend's Indie Champ: The Eyes of Tammy Faye, the biopic of controversial televangelists Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker. But its $1,500 average would be more impressive if it were on about a tenth of the screens. A semi-wide release in 450 theaters means its a less-than-heavenly opening.
  • Copshop didn't do the big business of past Gerard Butler hits. But for hailing from a smaller studio (Roadside Attractions) and little advertising, it's a decent debut for a movie that's sure to take off on VOD and streaming.
  • Both Blue Bayou and The Nowhere Inn crashed and burned. The former was an acclaimed immigration drama from writer-director Justin Chon. The latter was the faux rock-doc about musician St. Vincent. Both averaged less than $700 on each of its screens.

Next week:

The only wide release is the widely mocked Dear Evan Hansen. The big screen adaptation of the Tony Award-winning musical has received lots of criticism for the murky ethics of its story and star Ben Platt's decision to reprise his role, despite clearly looking like a guy pushing 30 playing a teenager. But fans won't care. Even so, its best hope is to finish second to another dominant weekend of Shang-Chi.


About Kip Mooney

Kip Mooney
Like many film critics born during and after the 1980s, my hero is Roger Ebert. The man was already the best critic in the nation when he won the Pulitzer in 1975, but his indomitable spirit during and after his recent battle with cancer keeps me coming back to read not only his reviews but his insightful commentary on the everyday. But enough about a guy you know a lot about. I knew I was going to be a film critic—some would say a snob—in middle school, when I had to voraciously defend my position that The Royal Tenenbaums was only a million times better than Adam Sandler’s remake of Mr. Deeds. From then on, I would seek out Wes Anderson’s films and avoid Sandler’s like the plague. Still, I like to think of myself as a populist, and I’ll be just as likely to see the next superhero movie as the next Sundance sensation. The thing I most deplore in a movie is laziness. I’d much rather see movies with big ambitions try and fail than movies with no ambitions succeed at simply existing. I’m also a big advocate of fun-bad movies like The Room and most of Nicolas Cage’s work. In the past, I’ve written for The Dallas Morning News and the North Texas Daily, which I edited for a semester. I also contributed to Dallas-based Pegasus News, which in the circle of life, is now part of The Dallas Morning News, where I got my big break in 2007. Eventually, I’d love to write and talk about film full-time, but until that’s a viable career option, I work as an auditor for Wells Fargo. I hope to one day meet my hero, go to the Toronto International Film Festival, and compete on Jeopardy. Until then, I’m excited to share my love of film with you.