Marvel Studios and Disney’s upcoming Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings starring Simu Liu and Awkwafina is expected to have the worst opening weekend ever for the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Box office tracking website Box Office Pro predicted earlier this month that Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is only expected to have an opening weekend between $35 million and $55 million.
If this prediction holds, Shang-Chi will have the worst opening weekend in the Marvel Cinematic Universe ever. The current holder of that title is Universal’s The Incredible Hulk starring Edward Norton and Liv Tyler that was released back in 2008.
The Incredible Hulk had an opening weekend of $55.4 million. However, if you factor in inflation, that opening weekend box office would be $70.2 million in 2021 dollars.
Not only is Shang-Chi predicted to have the worst opening weekend in Marvel Cinematic Universe history, but it’s predicted to be the worst performing MCU film at the domestic box office for its entire run in theaters.
Box Office Pro predicts the film will earn between $100 million and $165 million. Looking at the top end, if Shang-Chi earns $165 million the only film it would best would be The Incredible Hulk, which grossed $134.8 million at the domestic box office.
However, if you factor in inflation it gets handily beaten as The Incredible Hulk’s gross in today’s dollars would be $170.9 million.
As for why Shang-Chi’s opening weekend and total gross numbers are so poor, Box Office Pro claims one of the main factors is a “rise in severe virus cases and hospitalizations among the unvaccinated population.”
According to the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management’s COVID-19 Hospitalization Project, hospitalizations have increased in August with the latest data from August 29th showing a total of 93,883 people hospitalized due to COVID-19. The highest total of people hospitalized was on January 8, 2021 with 128,779.
However, blaming the pandemic doesn’t really make sense when the CEO of Live Nation is claiming that live concerts tickets are being sold out faster than ever. CEO Michael Rapino said during the company’s first quarter financial call in May, “Fans are buying tickets and events are selling out faster than ever.”
He added, “We’re just seeing demand beyond any other historic moment.” He proceeded to point to Garth Brooks saying, “Garth Books just this morning broke every Tickemaster record.”
Deadline reports, “Brooks sold over 50,000 tickets in less than 30 minutes for his upcoming concert at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City, Utah. The concert took place in July.
Virginia Tech Athletics just reported that the Hokies opening game against North Carolina in Blacksburg has been sold out. The home of the Hokies, Lane Stadium holds 66,233 people.
As Fox Sports notes Dover Motorsports reported that the recent NASCAR race at Nashville Superspeedway sold out all 38,000 seats at the facility.
A burnout in front of a sellout crowd.
— NASCAR on NBC (@NASCARonNBC) June 21, 2021
On top of that Black Widow opened just shy of two months ago in theaters and it had an opening weekend of $80.3 million. That was good for the sixth worst opening weekend for a Marvel Cinematic Universe film.
Still it outperformed Ant-Man and the Wasp, Thor, Ant-Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Incredible Hulk. However, it would end up as the fifth worst MCU film on domestic gross total. It only beat Thor, Ant-Man, Captain America: The First Avenger, and The Incredible Hulk. If you factor in inflation the only film it beat was The Incredible Hulk.
Aside from the pandemic, Box Office Pro also points to the fact that Shang Chi isn’t a well-known character. They note, “Shang-Chi himself isn’t generally known beyond the most die hard fan circles.”
They also point to the fact that the film is releasing on Labor Day, a weekend where “many people are accustomed to using a final opportunity for a vacation or break before the full-fledged return to work and school in the fall.”
Finally, they point to major cities like New York City requiring vaccination passes that “could potentially hinder some of the family audience that would typically show up for Marvel films given the all-ages appeal — specifically, kids under 12 who are not yet eligible for any COVID-19 vaccines — if regional governments don’t allow for exemptions.”
What do you make of these abysmal box office projections for Shang-Chi?