As we predicted, the balance of September is turning out to be exceptionally slow, with no new releases to drive the box office. “Shang Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” easily topped the charts with a gross of $21.7M, a drop of only 37% from last week. For the second week in a row, all other pictures contributed little to the overall results. Opening weekend for Clint Eastwood’s “Cry Macho” only managed to rustle up $4.5M and a third-place finish. This is the lowest opening weekend in history for a film that Clint has starred in and directed. This week’s other wide opener was “Copshop”, which flamed out with a microscopic $2.6M and a sixth place finish.
For the second week in a row, “Free Guy” was able to take second place on the box office charts, despite having run for six weeks in theatres. By grossing $5.2M and dropping only 7% from last weekend, the Ryan Reynolds comedy produced more than its fair share, especially in comparison to the other films in an anemic September lineup. “Malignant”, which stumbled last week in its debut, produced $2.6M this week, a drop of 51%. Both “Shang Chi” and “Free Guy” have capitalized on good reviews and positive word of mouth to fuel successful runs. Both films have also played in theatres exclusively, which has kept them front and center as an attraction for moviegoers.
The weekend overall generated a mere $47.3M in North American box office, which was 39% of the same weekend in 2019. Looking ahead to next week, the only new wide opener is “Dear Evan Hansen” making “Shang Chi” a prime candidate to repeat at number one. If it does, “Shang-Chi” will move into a tie with “Godzilla vs. Kong” as the only two movies to have topped the box office charts for four consecutive weekends during 2021. (“GvK” reigned supreme from 3/26 through 4/22.) For exhibitors, this September can’t end soon enough.