By Chris Kavan - 09/08/21 at 07:34 PM CT
It was a Labor Day Weekend for the record books as Disney's latest MCU offering, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings made a major impact at the box office - not only easily setting a record, but blowing well past predictions. In the wake of the good news at least one film, Venom: Let There Be Carnage, actually moved a week forward rather than another delay signaling some welcome news as uncertainty still hovers around the Delta variant.
On the ratings front, a couple of major film announcements - both which happen to be reboots featuring zombies and music - though not at the same time, sadly, with a new Resident Evil and a new West Side Story on the horizon.
Before that, however, let's talk about Shang-Chi. The latest film in the MCU delivered a knock-out punch over Labor Day with a massive $75.38 million weekend and an eye-popping $94.6 million including Labor Day itself. That blew away the old record set by the 2007 version of Halloween at $30.6 million. This holiday is often one of the slower box-office weekends as many people enjoy things like camping or hitting the road one last time - but this year, with Covid still rearing its ugly head, perhaps more people stayed closer to home. That total is the second-best opening of the year behind only fellow MCU title Black Widow ($80.3 mllion). Unlike that MCU title, however, Shang-Chi is playing only in theaters - no premium streaming - meaning it should have much better legs in the long run. The film was a hit with audiences, who gave it an "A" Cinemascore, as well as critics, with a 92% Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes. Overseas, the film took in $56.2 million, which may seem a bit low, but doesn't include the lucrative China market, which has cracked down on foreign films amidst a cultural shift that has also targeted video games and effeminate males in media. In any case, Shang-Chi should probably have most of September in the bag and the next Venom film will probably be its biggest threat. We'll see if this tops Black Widow in the long run, but I have a feeling it will.
Coming in second, last week's top film Candyman took a 53.2% tumble for the weekend, typical numbers for a horror film, to take in $10.3 million - $12.5 million including Labor Day itself, and raising its total to $41 million. With foreign markets taken into account, the film has already topped $52 million worldwide and has already doubled its $25 million budget. It should top $50 million domestic by next weekend or shortly after.
In the third-place spot, Ryan Reynolds Free Guy held strong with a 32.5% dip on its way to a $8.88 million weekend ($11.23 by Labor Day) and a new $94.4 million total. With $100 million clearly on the way, this original property is turning out to be a good investment. It has brought in nearly $150 million overseas as well, making this a global crowd-pleaser as well.
Holding in fourth place after six weeks in theater, Jungle Cruise has another strong hold, dipping just under 20% for a $4 million weekend and a $5.09 million Labor Day (where it slid into fifth behind PAW Patrol). In any case, that was enough to give the film a new $106.8 million total and is approaching $200 million worldwide.
Rounding out the top five, Paw Patrol: The Movie dipped about 40% for the weekend with $4 million as well (and just below Jungle Cruise) but jumped the Disney film on Labor Day with $5.34 million. The kid-friendly pups have managed to bring in $31.67 million so far becoming the de facto choice for families. It has also earned an additional $50.3 million overseas.
Next week's biggest film looks to be the next horror film from maestro James Wan with Malignant, though I don't think Shang-Chi will have much of a problem fending off the scares.
Onto the MPAA Ratings Bulletin proper where we have a couple of big-name films that both happen to be reboots. On one hand with have Steven Spielberg tackling one of the most beloved musicals of all time with an updated version of West Side Story. On the other hand we have a new version of Resident Evil, based on the hit video game series, with Welcome to Raccoon City.
I'm not afraid to admit that I enjoy a good musical. And West Side Story happens to be one of those indelible experiences - the 1961 adaptation has the songs and choreography to make the Romeo and Juliet story amidst rival gangs just pop. So will Steven Spielberg be able to capture that same magic with his version of West Side Story? Time will tell, but our star-crossed lovers this time are played by Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler and features a diverse supporting cast with Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, Mike Faist, Josh Andrés Rivera, Corey Stoll, Brian d'Arcy James, Maddie Ziegler, Ana Isabelle and a very familiar face in the legendary Rita Moreno. All in all, a very solid cast - though many are already pondering if Elgort has the chops to pull this off. We've had a bumpy year for musicals already with In the Heights coming up short despite great reviews. Hopefully West Side Story won't suffer the same fate - though I want to hear the music before I pass judgement. Rated PG-13 for some strong violence, strong language, thematic content, suggestive material and brief smoking.
As an avid video gamer and an avid fan of the zombie genre, Resident Evil hits all the right spots. The original film adaptations tended to pump up the action while only loosely following the storyline - especially as the sequels piled up. While entertaining, I don't know if I would call the series "good". I don't know if Resident Evil: Welcome to Raccoon City is going to be any better, but it looks like it's getting a big more serious as the origin story returns to its roots at the Spencer Mansion - the setting for the original game as well. Our cast has been updated as well with Kaya Scodelario as Claire Redfield, Robbie Amell as older brother Chris Redfield, Hannah John-Kamen takes on Jill Valentine while Tom Hopper plays the duplicitous Albert Wesker. We also have Avan Jogia as Leon S. Kennedy, Neal McDonough as scientist William Birkin, Donal Logue as Chief Irons, Lily Gao as the mysterious Ada Wong. The case seems to suggest the film will cover material from multiple games in the series, so I'm interested to see how they cover things. Hey, I gave the original series a shot, so I may as well extend another olive branch. Rated R for strong violence and gore, and language throughout.
Those are the two big films for the week, but you can check out the full MPAA Ratings Bulletin below:
Rated R for violence, gore and some language.
CHRISTMAS VS THE WALTERS
Rated PG-13 for some suggestive references.
THE ICE AGE ADVENTURES OF BUCK WILD
Rated PG for some action and mild language.
Rated R for strong violence, language throughout and some sexual content.
THE JESUS MUSIC
Rated PG-13 for some drug material and thematic elements.
Rated R for language throughout and some violence.
RESIDENT EVIL: WELCOME TO RACCOON CITY
Rated R for strong violence and gore, and language throughout.
THE TIGER RISING
Rated PG for thematic elements, language and brief violence.
Rated R for language and violence.
WEST SIDE STORY
Rated PG-13 for some strong violence, strong language, thematic content, suggestive material and brief smoking.