Hollywood’s newest superhero is saving the day on-screen — and off.
The Marvel epic Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings rang up an estimated $71.4 million at U.S. theaters between Friday and Sunday, according to tracking website Box Office Mojo.
Disney, the film’s distributor, expects Shang-Chi to sell another $12.1 million in tickets on Monday. But the film has already more than doubled the previous $30.6 million record for the full Labor Day weekend, including Monday, set by the horror flick Halloween in 2007.
Labor Day weekend is usually slow for movie theaters, industry analysts say, with most blockbusters released earlier in the summer — and attention shifting to the new school year and the start of college football season. The pandemic has made it even tougher to sell movie tickets, especially with the rise of the delta variant keeping some viewers home and forcing several movie openings to be delayed.
The weekend haul gives Shang-Chi the second-highest box office opening for any film released during the pandemic, behind another Marvel Cinematic Universe installment, Black Widow, which topped $80 million on its opening weekend in July.
Shang-Chi‘s theatrical success is “the ultimate confidence-builder” for the industry, Paul Dergarabedian, a senior analyst at Comscore, told the AP.
The film is Marvel’s first epic to star an Asian hero. It tells the story of the eponymous kung fu master who’s hiding from his warlord father by living undercover as a normal guy named Shaun in San Francisco.
Unlike Black Widow, which was released simultaneously in theaters and on the Disney+ streaming service, Shang-Chi can only be watched on the big screen until October, when it’s expected to make its Disney+ debut.