What the release of Marvel’s Shang-Chi could mean for the future of the movie theater

Marvel Studios’ newest release blew past its opening weekend box office projections, but will it be enough to garner a return to pre-pandemic box office strength?

· Sep 8, 2021 Tweet

Mary Magnuson/The Badger Herald

For the past few years, the global box office has been experiencing an extended drought.

While movies have been released in theaters since the start of 2021, few movies have experienced true box office success as the cloud of the pandemic has continues to hang over film executives’ heads.

Films like “F9″ and “A Quiet Place Part 2,” while still profiting in the pandemic-era, earned significantly less money than their predecessors. According to Box Office Mojo, “F9″ earned over 500 million dollars less than 2017’s “Fate of the Furious.”

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Throughout this year, large, tentpole movies have been underperforming in regards to their box office projections. Whether that is due to simultaneous streaming releases or segments of the population still being wary of movie theaters, theaters have slowly been crawling back to their pre-pandemic popularity.

For example, James Gunn’s “The Suicide Squad,” one of the most anticipated movies of the year, has only earned $162,000,000 since its August 6 release date. On the film’s $185,000,000 budget, it seems unlikely it will break even.

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Following the lackluster performance of “The Suicide Squad,” many films’ release dates were pushed back even further, for fear they too would lose money.

All of that changed last weekend when Marvel Studios’ released “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings.” The website, Box Office Pro, predicted “Shang-Chi” would be Marvel’s first real flop, projecting its domestic box office weekend to be between $35 million and $55 million. But the film starring Simu Liu blew through those projections and past the Labor Day weekend records, raking in a whopping $90 million dollars, according to Variety.

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While this is still a relatively low opening weekend when compared to other Marvel Studios films, “Shang-Chi” provides a spark of hope for other film’s performances in the near future — so much so a few films have moved up their release dates in response.

In the spirit of returning to in-person cinema experiences here on campus, WUD Film has begun to return to their usual programming. On Monday Sept. 6, the Terrace hosted hundreds of students for Lakeside Cinema’s presentation of the 1999 film, “10 Things I Hate About You.” At Union South’s Marquee Cinema, seats filled up for multiple showings of “The Princess Bride.”

While the rest of their programming has not been revealed for this semester, it is clear the public — including students on campus — is hungry for the theater experience we have all missed out on over the past 18 months.


This article was published Sep 8, 2021 at 2:30 pm and last updated Sep 8, 2021 at 8:14 pm


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