Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has officially been announced as this year’s biggest movie in the US. The second movie to launch Phase 4 of the MCU garnered $196 million, passing it’s Phase 4 predecessor, Black Widow, by $13 million at the box offices. It’s worth mentioning that unlike Shang-Chi, Black Widow was released both in theaters and on Disney+, which still led to the lesser of the two box office numbers.
Shang-Chi was exclusively released in theaters and will be available to stream for free on Disney+ on November 12 as a part of Disney+ Day. Regardless of the release methods between the two films, this puts Marvel in an impressively lucrative position, meaning that they currently account for the two highest-grossing domestic releases this year.
Before the film’s release, Disney CEO Bob Chapek made comments about Shang-Chi being an “interesting experiment,” those of which left a horrible impression on both Marvel fans and the Asian-American community. This implied that the film, the first Marvel film with an all-Asian cast, was a risk that was basically setup to fail as one of the first Disney-owned movies to show exclusively in theaters since the pandemic started.
“We are not an “interesting experiment.” We are the underdog; the underestimated. We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year. We are the surprise,” Liu wrote on Instagram. “I’m fired the f**k up to make history on September 3rd; JOIN US.” — Simu Liu in response to CEO Bob Chapek’s comments (via Twitter on August 14)
Another odd stacked against the film before its release was the casting of Awkwafina as Shang-Chi’s sidekick, Katy Chen. In an interview with VICE, Awkwafina went on the record saying, “I refuse to do accents.” She continued by expressing, “I’m not OK with someone writing the Asian experience for an Asian character. I make it very clear, I don’t ever go out for auditions where I feel like I’m making a minstrel out of our people.” Of course, Twitter erupted with comments following this interview. Many people went on to tweet about how hypocritical and tone deaf her comments about accents were, specifically because she is known to have risen to fame through her rap career and shameless use of a “blaccent.” This led to many fans vowing to boycott the film.
Despite things looking grim for the first Asian-led Marvel film, Shang-Chi went on to shatter Labor Day box office records, with a $94 million four-day opening. The sun has yet to set on this film’s success, decreasing only 54% on its second weekend, 37% on its third weekend, and 38% on its fourth. It’s impressive, to say the least, since most films see a significant drop in attendance on its second week.
In other Disney franchise news, check out the cast list for the new Obi-Wan Kenobi series coming to Disney+.
Photo via Simu Liu/Twitter