Weekend box office predictions are provided by Daniel Garris, courtesy of BoxOfficeReport.com.
Labor Day weekend is traditionally a slow frame for new releases, but Disney will look to buck that trend this weekend with the release of its highly anticipated Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings. The latest installment of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) was directed by Destin Daniel Cretton and stars Simu Liu and Awkwafina. Shang-Chi and the legend of the Ten Rings will launch in 4,300 locations this weekend, which represents the second widest opening weekend location count since the re-opening of domestic theatres (behind only the 4,310 locations fellow Disney release Jungle Cruise opened in). Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be playing on IMAX screens this weekend and will have Thursday night preview shows beginning at 6PM. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings also looks to be getting the third highest opening weekend showtimes per-location average of any film since re-opening; behind only Black Widow and F9 (and just ahead of A Quiet Place Part II). In addition to the built-in excitement within the MCU fanbase for the film, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will also be helped out by its strong critical reviews and by representing the first MCU film with a predominantly Asian cast. And while Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings shouldn’t have the opening day rush out of an MCU film such as the recent Black Widow, Shang-Chi should hold up much better throughout the rest of the weekend than Black Widow did during its opening weekend, thanks in part to the Labor Day holiday frame and in part to Shang-Chi opening exclusively in theatres this weekend (whereas Black Widow opened day-and-date, theatrically and via streaming as a Premiere Access title on Disney+).
Two factors that could limit break-out potential somewhat for Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings this weekend are that a sizable portion of the eastern United States is still dealing with the aftermath of Hurricane Ida and that the rest of this year’s September line-up being void of any other apparent blockbuster fare could lead to some built-in back-loading throughout the rest of September for Shang-Chi (especially by comic book adaptation standards). BoxOfficeReport expects Shang-Chi and the Legend of The Ten Rings to debut with $72.0 million over the four-day frame, with $59.0 million of that total coming from the traditional three-day weekend (for a three-day per-location average of $13,721). That would represent the third largest opening weekend since re-opening (behind only Black Widow and F9) and the third largest September opening weekend of all-time (behind only 2017’s IT and 2019’s IT Chapter Two), and the film’s four-day launch would easily set a new four-day opening weekend record for Labor Day weekend (a mark which is currently held by 2007’s Halloween with $30.59 million).
Universal and MGM’s Candyman is coming off of a healthy first place start of $22.00 million last weekend. In addition to going over well with critics, the Nia DaCosta directed horror sequel starring Yahya Abdul-Mateen II and Teyonah Parris also appears to be going over well with audiences, as Candyman received a B rating on CinemaScore (which is very solid by horror film standards). Daily holds for Candyman thus far have also been quite respectable for a high-profile horror sequel. While Candyman will no doubt have some built-in front-loading (especially in the face of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings arriving in the marketplace), the good reception to the film and the Labor Day holiday frame should help Candyman see a respectable hold this weekend. For the four-day frame, Candyman could take second place this weekend with $13.7 million, which would represent a 38 percent decline from last weekend’s three-day debut.
Disney and 20th Century’s Free Guy continued to excel last weekend by declining just 29 percent to take second place with $13.16 million. That represented the largest third weekend gross since the re-opening of domestic theatres. Labor Day weekend is normally a very good frame for higher-profile holdovers (especially those with good word of mouth) and while that will still be the case this year, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings entering the marketplace will prevent some films from holding up as well this weekend as they normally would in a more typical year. Free Guy is likely to be one of those films this weekend, especially with the film losing its IMAX screens to Shang-Chi. With that said, in the bigger picture Free Guy should still have a very nice hold this weekend, as the film continues to approach the $100 million domestic mark. Look for Free Guy to take third place over the three-day frame with $12.3 million, which would be down a slim 7 percent from last weekend’s three-day performance.
Paramount’s PAW: Patrol: The Movie and Disney’s Jungle Cruise both likely won’t be as impacted by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings this weekend as Free Guy. Last weekend PAW Patrol: The Movie was down 49 percent to claim third with $6.66 million, while Jungle Cruise was down a slim 21 percent to follow in fourth with $5.00 million (and in the process surpassed the $100 million domestic mark). While Jungle Cruise should continue to hold up better than PAW Patrol: The Movie this weekend, PAW Patrol: The Movie is likely to stabilize enough this weekend (thanks in part to the Labor Day holiday) to remain comfortably ahead of Jungle Cruise over this weekend’s four-day frame. PAW Patrol: The Movie could increase 8 percent over last weekend’s three-day frame for a fourth place four-day take of $7.2 million, while Jungle Cruise could jump 16 percent to round out this weekend’s top five with a four-day gross of $5.8 million.
As for some of this weekend’s other holdovers over the four-day frame, look for Sony’s Don’t Breathe 2 to decline 16 percent from last weekend’s three-day frame to take sixth with $2.4 million, for United Artists Releasing’s Respect to decrease just 11 percent from last weekend to claim seventh with $2.0 million and for Warner’s The Suicide Squad to slow 25 percent to place in eighth with $1.5 million.