'Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings'.

In more open theatrical markets like the US and the UK, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings – the first Marvel film to feature an Asian lead and a predominantly Asian cast – is breaking pandemic-era records.

In Australia, the Sydney-shot title bowed on $1.9 million ($2.1 million with previews); a result that would be fairly unimaginable for a MCU film in normal times but one that is the reality with such a significant portion of the market shut.

Nonetheless, it marks best opening weekend for a film since Space Jam: A New Legacy, outpacing Jungle Cruise, The Suicide Squad and Free Guy.

Given how disrupted the landscape is, a perhaps more accurate way to ascertain how Shang-Chi is being received locally is in its screen average; it averaged a very healthy $7,435 across the 262 screens it played. It also had 55 per cent market share.

Indeed, the mood of exhibitors who could play the film appears buoyant, with Wallis Cinemas programming manager David Simpson telling IF: “It’s been a while since we had a line out the door – thanks to Shang-Chi for providing.”

Directed by Daniel Destin Cretton, the film stars Simu Liu as Shang-Chi, who is forced to confront his past after he is drawn into his father’s Ten Rings organisation. Starring alongside are Awkwafina, Meng’er Zhang, Fala Chen, Florian Munteanu, Benedict Wong, Michelle Yeoh, Ben Kingsley, and Tony Leung. 

In the US, the theatrical exclusive broke Labor Day weekend records with a four-day result of $US90million ($121 million), surpassing expectations. Based on the three-day result of $US75.5 million ($101.5 million), it is the second highest opening weekend of the pandemic-era, just behind Black Widow. In the UK, Shang-Chi generated £GBP5.8 million ($10.8 million); a re-opening record.

Back in Australia, the top 20 titles gathered $3.5 million, up 39 per cent, according to Numero.

In second position was Disney’s Free Guy, which continues to hold relatively well, dropping 32 per cent to take $604,822 in its fourth – a result that moves it to $4.6 million.

Unfortunately, no other film cracked the $500,000 mark.

The Suicide Squad has collected $4.9 million for Warner Bros. in five weeks, with the weekend’s tally coming to $190,634.

Universal’s Respect, now in its third week, mustered $152,695, advancing the film to just shy of $3 million.

For Disney, Jungle Cruise continues to hang in there, with another $111,926 moving the film to $3.5 million after six weeks.

Don’t Breathe 2 collected $100,162 in its second weekend, taking its gross to date to $322,114 for Sony, and fellow horror Candyman, also in its second, mustered $91,357 for Universal to advance to $285,318.

Now eight weeks in, WB’s Space Jam 2 remains in the top 10, with takings of $75,381 bringing its cume to $11.6 million.

Mind Blowing Films’ Chal Mera Putt 2, a 2020 re-release in its second frame, collected $64,881 from 19 screens, moving to $825,853.

Rounding out the top 10 was Studiocanal’s French romance biopic Eiffel, which opened to $49,716 from 27 screens. It sits on $379,891 overall, thanks to festival earnings.

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