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411 Box Office Report: Shang-Chi Spends Fourth Week at #1, Dear Evan Hansen Is DOA

September 26, 2021 | Posted by Jeremy Thomas

Shang-Chi held court at the box office for a fourth straight weekend, as the MCU film became the top-grossing film of the pandemic domestically. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings came in at #1 this weekend with $13.3 million, a drop of just 39% from last weekend’s take, to win the weekend. The martial arts/superhero film is the first movie to top the box office for four straight frames since Tenet ruled for five weekends in September of last year.

The weekend tally puts Shang-Chi at $196.5 million domestically and $363.4 million worldwide, making it the highest domestic-grossing film since the pandemic started. The last film to gross more than Shang-Chi’s current total was Bad Boys For Life, which totalled $204.4 million to start 2020. The MCU film will top that number with ease; while it runs into serious competition at last this coming weekend, it does have a serious shot at approaching the $230 million mark at this point. Needless to say, it’s a big hit for Marvel even against a $150 million production budget.

Meanwhile, Universal had a bomb on its hands with Dear Evan Hansen. The adaptation of the Broadway musical fell completely flat at the box office with just $7.5 million, underperforming the $10 million to $12 million that most expected it to do. This is not the result the studio wanted to say the least; it’s well below the $11.5 million start of musical adaptation In the Heights in June, which was both a disappointment and had the excuse of an HBO Max day-and-date release.

There’s no such distribution situation that Universal can rely on; Dear Evan Hansen was exclusive to theaters, though it will have a shortened path to digital at just 17 days. The fact of the matter was that people just didn’t want to see this movie, which had racked up a ton of negative buzz on social media for the casting of Ben Platt as a teenager (he created the role on Broadway five years ago at 22), as well as some fairly brutal reviews out of its Toronto International Film Festival premiere.

Those bad reviews continued (you can see our own Jeffrey Harris’ review here) to the tune of a lousy 33% aggregate score on Rotten Tomatoes. Word of mouth was better with an A- CinemaScore, but that wasn’t enough to save this one. The good news for Universal is that they only shelled out $27 million in production costs, but Evan Hansen is unlikely to top that in its total domestic gross and with marketing costs, theatrical rental cuts and the rest, this will be a money loser in terms of its theatrical run.

Disney has every reason to be happy with Free Guy, which had another stellar hold as it dropped just 19% in its seventh weekend to $4.1 million. The Ryan Reynolds & Jodie Comer action-comedy is now up to $114.1 million domestically and $317.4 million worldwide, and has already quadrupled its opening weekend in terms of domestic box office. The film is now looking quite possible to top $130 million domestically by the end of its run and is a mega-hit against a $100 million budget.

Candyman also held on well once again, down 29% in its fifth weekend to ring up $2.5 million. The Nia DaCosta-directed horror sequel film has now grossed $56.8 million domestically and $71.6 million worldwide against a $25 million budget, making it nicely profitable for Universal. The film is aiming for around $62 million to $65 million as a final domestic total.

Clint Eastwood’s Cry Macho took a hit it couldn’t afford in its second weekend, dropping 52% to $2.1 million. That’s a bigger than average drop for a drama, and a bigger than average drop for an Eastwood film. It’s also a drop for a film that already opened low last weekend, with a two-frame total of $8.3 million domestically and $9.1 million worldwide. Those aren’t encouraging for the film, which is hopefully trending well for Warner Bros. on HBO Max, because it doesn’t look likely to top $15 million domestically and will be a money loser against a $33 million budget.

Jungle Cruise kept rolling on in its ninth weekend, slipping just 17% to $1.7 million. The blockbuster adventure film has now grossed $114.9 million domestically and $205.6 million worldwide, plus the amount its made on Disney+ Premier Access, making it profitable even against its $200 million budget once all the revenue streams are tallied. It should finish off at around $120 million or so domestically.

Malignant is continuing to fade, down 45% in its third weekend to $1.5 million. The gonzo horror film from James Wan is now at $12.3 million domestically and $29.7 million worldwide, not great numbers but expected given the divisive reaction to the movie. It will likely finish off its domestic run around $16 million, and will not be successful financially against its $40 million budget.

The Gerard Butler and Frank Grillo’s action-thriller CopShop slipped 45% in its second weekend to bring in $1.3 million. The Open Road production is now at $4.5 million domestically and $5.2 million worldwide, low numbers for a film of its stature. We don’t know the budget, but it seems unlikely to be much of a hit and should finish off at around $8 million to $10 million.

Paw Patrol: The Movie took in $1.1 million in its sixth weekend, off 35% from last weekend. The animated family movie is now up to $38.8 million domestically and a respectable $85.2 million worldwide, making it profitable for Paramount against a $26 million budget. The film is also available on Paramount+, bringing in some more revenue there. It should end its domestic run in the $42 million range.

Indian Telugu-language romantic drama Love Story made a surprise entry in the top 10, opening in 300 through Sony in the US and bringing in $971,000. That is a great start for a niche film in terms of domestic interest; no word on its budget, and while it should slip out of the top 10 next weekend it has already overacheived.

Next weekend will see Marvel exit the #1 spot to make way for — well, Marvel. Venom: Let There Be Carnage opens next weekend and should easily claim #1 with an opening in the $50 million to $60 million range. Also opening next weekend is Sopranos prequel The Many Saints of Newark, which will also be on HBO Max and should take in around $10 million. MGM’s animated Addams Family 2 will open day-and-date with digital rental and should target around the mid- to high-teens range.

BOX OFFICE TOP TEN (Three-Day Domestic Numbers)
1. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – $13.3 million ($196.5 million total)
2. Dear Evan Hansen – $7.5 million ($7.5 million total)
3. Free Guy – $5.2 million ($114.1 million total)
4. Candyman – $2.5 million ($56.8 million total)
5. Cry Macho – $2.1 million ($8.3 million total)
6. Jungle Cruise – $1.7 million ($114.9 million total)
7. Malignant – $1.5 million ($12.3 million total)
8. CopShop – $1.3 million ($4.5 million total)
9. Paw Patrol: The Movie – $1.1 million ($38.8 million total)
10. Love Story – $971,000 ($971,000 total)