Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings smashed box office expectations over the Labor Day weekend, landing it at the top spot.

The Marvel film, which stars Simu Liu, and Awkwafina, took home a massive $71.4 million (and a four-day estimate of $83.5 million), in its theaters-only release, exceeding its first week predictions.

"[It] just absolutely obliterated that," Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore's Senior Media Analyst, told EW on Sunday.

'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings'
| Credit: Marvel Studios

In a non-pandemic time, Marvel films tend to open over $100 million in North America, Dergarabedian noted. But, for a film dropping in an ever-changing pandemic marketplace, Shang-Chi's box office totals are impressive.

"This is a knock it out of the park hit," Dergarabedian said of the film's success in its first weekend of release, adding that globally, the film "has done extraordinarily well." 

In fact, despite the pandemic, Shang-Chi set a record for a Labor Day weekend-released films, surpassing Halloween, which has held the record since its debut in 2007. The Marvel film's $71.4 million opening also marks it as the second highest opening for a film during the pandemic (Black Widow holds the top spot with an opening of $80M).

Worldwide, Shang-Chi took in more than $56 million, for a global total of $127 million. It's four-day total is predicted to be $139.7M, according to Comscore. 

"Clearly it is the movies themselves that people get excited about," Dergarabedian said about what's drawing moviegoers into theaters. 

Candyman settled into second for its second week of release, earning a cool $10.5 million, while Ryan Reynold's Free Guy remained strong, nabbing third and $8.7 million.

"Free Guy is another example of a film that shows that people mainly want to go to the movies based on the allure and appeal of the movies themselves," Dergarabedian said. "So, as it was pre-pandemic, the movies are key. It's really about the movies, and the experience of the movie theater makes any movie a bigger, grander event."

Paw Patrol, which is also available on streaming service Paramount+, grabbed fourth with $4 million, while Disney's Jungle Cruise floated into fifth place with $3.95 million.

Rounding out the top 10 were Don't Breathe 2 ($2.2M) in sixth, Respect in seventh ($1.265M), followed by The Suicide Squad ($905K), Black Widow ($748K), and The Night House ($552K).

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