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Shang-Chi packs punch at box office in opening weekend

Disney's latest Marvel Cinematic Universe movie, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, is proving to be a knockout.

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Behold the Labor Day box office hit.

Fists of finance: new Marvel Cinematic Universe movie Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings took in $90 million at the US box office in its first four days, setting a Labor Day weekend record to boot, according to Variety. The previous record for the Labor Day weekend, typically a slow one for movie openings, was $30.6 million for the 2007 edition of Halloween.

The martial arts-inspired Shang-Chi arrived in theaters just two months after Marvel's Black Widow, which holds the pandemic-era record of $80.3 million for a three-day tally in the US market (Shang-Chi's three-day total was $75.5 million, Variety noted). Unlike Black Widow, which arrived in theaters and online simultaneously, Shang-Chi is starting out only in theaters and won't be streaming on Disney Plus until October.

Disney said that Shang-Chi is the third highest September opening ever, behind It and It: Chapter Two. The new Marvel movie also took in $56.2 million in its first three days in international markets, including the UK and Hong Kong (but not the rest of China).

Shang-Chi features Marvel's first Asian lead and draws on the rich history of Asian cinema, from martial arts movies to gangster films to romance, and in particular the lush visual and emotional style of wuxia epics. "Shang-Chi's greatest strength is its power to surprise," CNET's Rich Trenholm writes in his review.

This year's Labor Day weekend at the movies looks likely to outperform the 2019 overall box office take by 12%, according to Deadline.