Marvel's Shang-Chi Wins At The Box Office Again As It Becomes 2021's Biggest Domestic Blockbuster

Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings heroes in Ta Lo

In the last few weeks, Destin Daniel Cretton's Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings has been on a clear trajectory. It didn't quite manage to set a new high bar for opening weekends during the pandemic when it debuted in early September, but it did set an all-time record for the Labor Day holiday, and, as a theater-exclusive release, it has been raking in cash ever since. Last Sunday my column noted that the movie was on track to surpass Cate Shortland's Black Widow as the biggest domestic release of 2021, and now that is a goal that it has reached thanks to another ten-figure performance at the box office.

Check out the full Top 10 below, and join me afterward for analysis!

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Movie TitleWeekend AmountTotal AmountChart Position Last WeekNumber of Screens
Shang-Chi:The Legend Of The Ten Rings1328500019645908413952
Dear Evan Hansen*7500000750000003364
Free Guy412900011413907123175
Cry Macho2115000834253834022
Jungle Cruise172200011489073672065
PAW Patrol: The Movie11200003876091981995
The Eyes Of Tammy Faye6210001530575101352

With an additional $13.3 million earned between this past Friday and today, Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings has now earned $196.5 million total in North America, and can officially be called the biggest blockbuster the continent has seen in 2021. That total surpasses the $183.6 million that Black Widow has made since it came out in July, and together the two movies once again showcase the dominance that the Marvel Cinematic Universe presently has on the big screen.

Combined with the money that Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings has brought in from abroad, the blockbuster's worldwide total now stands at $363.4 million – and while that's a solid number, it means that the film presently on sits in sixth place on the global box office chart. Jia Ling's comedy Hi, Mom! – which was released in China back in February – firmly remains the biggest big screen earner of 2021, having made $841.7 million during its theatrical run, but there are also still a few American-made titles sitting in front of Shang-Chi in the rankings. Justin Lin's F9 is in second place, having made $716.2 million; Adam Wingard's Godzilla vs. Kong is in fourth place with its $467.8 million haul; and sitting right in front of the latest MCU title in fifth place is Black Widow, which has made $377.3 million globally to date.

The biggest factor in the success of Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings has been its staying power, which is perfectly showcased in the fact that it is the first film of 2021 to remain champion at the box office for four weeks in a row. We didn't see any of the major releases from this past summer pull off anything similar – as the season was littered with titles that tanked in their second weekends – and the only other titles to come close have been Godzilla vs. Kong and Carlos López Estrada and Don Hall's Raya And The Last Dragon (both features held on to the title of "#1 Movie In America" for three weeks each in the spring). Obviously it helps that there hasn't been much competition for it, but we'll get into that more in a minute.

The next major milestone for Shang-Chi will be crossing the $200 million mark, which should happen within the next week, and will be a moment for theaters across the country to celebrate. The industry has experienced a lot of strife within the past year-and-a-half, and all signs of things bouncing back towards normalcy are welcome. It will also hopefully continue to let studios have confidence in the films that are scheduled to come out this fall, particularly as the next big wave of blockbusters sets to unfurl in the last couple months of the year. Nobody wants to see more movies get delayed at this point.

Shang-Chi grabs razorfist on bus Shang-Chi and the Legend of hte Ten Rings

Getting back to that bit about competition... now arrives the time to talk about the performance of Stephen Chbosky's Dear Evan Hansen, which biffed it hard during its opening weekend. Despite the fact that the movie is based on a popular, Tony Award-winning musical, the release has proven to have very limited box office draw, and it's hard to imagine there are many smiles abound at Universal Pictures after it only managed to make $7.5 million in its first three days. According to Variety, the adaptation was made with a $28 million budget (before publicity and marketing), and while that cost pales in comparison to, say, the $150 million-plus that was spent to make Shang-Chi, that's still an amount of money that the feature will have a hard time making back.

It's a development that is not incredibly surprising when you consider the critical reaction that Dear Evan Hansen received in the run up to its release, but it is one that makes one start to wonder about the viability of musicals at the box office going forward. There is no questioning the fact that we have seen a number of big successes from the genre in recent years, with Michael Gracey's The Greatest Showman and Dexter Fletcher's Rocketman being titles that immediately spring to mind, but we also can't ignore some rough flops – including Tom Hooper's Cats and Jon Chu's In The Heights. This is definitely a trend to keep an eye on, especially as more musicals, including Steven Spielberg's West Side Story, debut in theaters in the coming months.

Singing and dancing wasn't enough to end Shang-Chi And The Legend Of The Ten Rings' reign at the top of the box office, but you know what likely will? Another comic book movie. When Ruben Fleischer's Venom hit theaters in October 2018, it landed with an $80 million splash, and there is a far amount of expectation that the forthcoming sequel, Andy Serkis' Venom: Let There Be Carnage, will do some similar business. The new blockbuster will arrive in theaters this Friday, October 1, along with David Chase's Sopranos prequel The Many Saints Of Newark (which has been getting solid reviews), and both should do a nice job mixing things up for the Top 10. To discover how everything shakes out, be sure to come back here to CinemaBlend next Sunday for our full rundown.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.