Shang-Chi Joins Black Panther & Guardians of the Galaxy In Special MCU Club (Box Office)

By Savannah Sanders Updated:
Shang-Chi Guardians of the Galaxy Black Panther

From the beginning, Marvel's Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings has been a series of firsts.

In addition to being the MCU's first Phase 4 origin story, Shang-Chi is also the studio's first Asian superhero movie, its first martial arts film, and the first since 2019's Spider-Man: Far From Home to receive an exclusive theatrical release. 

Earlier this year, Disney's decision to release the film in theaters without the option for Disney+ Premier Access led to grim projections for the project's box office

However, Shang-Chi beat the odds, shattering expectations and bringing in an estimated $71.4 million in its opening weekend, and has continued to dominate the box office making it the first MCU film since 2018's Black Panther to do so.

Shang-Chi Box Office On Par With Black Panther & Guardians

Shang-Chi Avengers

Nearly a month after Shang-Chi's successful debut, Erik Davis reported that Marvel's latest origin story topped the box office for its fourth straight week, raking in $13.2 million and bringing the film's domestic gross to $196 million.

Due to these new numbers, Shang-Chi has now grossed $363 million worldwide to date.

In his tweet, Davis also noted that Marvel's latest origin film has now passed Marvel's Black Widow which previously held this year's box office record and whose performance dropped off significantly in its second week. 

Also, Shang-Chi's ongoing box office streak places it among the ranks of 2014's Guardians of the Galaxy and 2018's Black Panther as the only Marvel films to remain #1 for four consecutive weeks. 

For comparison, Marvel movies that maintained their top spots at the box office for three consecutive weeks were 2012's The Avengers, 2014's Captain America: The Winter Soldier, 2018's Avengers: Infinity War, and 2019's Avengers: Endgame.

Measuring Shang-Chi's Box Office Success

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was a breakthrough for Asian representation not only in the MCU but also for the comic book movie genre as a whole, and the fact that audiences responded - and continue to - means all the more. 

Therefore, it's worth noting that Shang-Chi's performance is currently on par with Black Panther, another Marvel film that made huge strides in representation, as well as Guardians of the Galaxy - an MCU origin film like Shang-Chi that features a cast of MCU unknowns with no prior cameos. 

However, when looking at the hard numbers alone, Shang-Chi's domestic gross of $196 million isn't comparable with Marvel's more successful films with this same box office record. 

In an additional tweet, Davis noted that the domestic performance for Marvel's latest film has yet to top Thor: The Dark World, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Doctor Strange, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, all of which grossed at least $200 million during their theatrical runs.

However, any film released since early 2020 and up until now must always be evaluated through the prism of the times. 

Shang-Chi was released during concerns over rising COVID-19 numbers and the Delta Variant. Also, it's equally important to note that - in terms of the global box office - Shang-Chi hasn't been released in China

In addition, Shang-Chi's budget was considerably smaller than other Marvel Studios films, including that of Black Panther - only adding to the film's profitability.

Finally, the film's theatrical run isn't over just yet, as it isn't set to release on Disney+ until November 12. Until then, it could top Guardians of the Galaxy and continue to compete with Black Panther as the 2018 film didn't just dominate for four weeks, but also five.  

Time will tell if Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will be able to do the same. 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is in theaters now and will be available to stream on Disney+ on November 12. 

Release Date
September 03, 2021
- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.