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Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ sets US record with Asian lead

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Canadian actor Simu Liu plays Shang-Chi. The Asian hero is a first for Marvel films. AFP

Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi’ sets US record with Asian lead

The North American box office got a big boost as Disney’s new Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, featuring Marvel’s first leading Asian superhero, scored an unexpectedly strong $71.4 million opening, industry observer Exhibitor Relations reported on Sunday.

That figure, for the Friday-through-Sunday period, was a Labour Day weekend record, the Hollywood Reporter said, and the film is expected to take in an additional $12.1 million on Monday.

“This is a fantastic opening on a traditionally quiet Labor Day weekend,” said David A Gross of Franchise Entertainment Research. “The three-day number is a record-breaker for the holiday, a positive finish to the summer . . . [marking] a sensational weekend for the industry.”

Shang-Chi stars Canadian actor, stuntman and erstwhile Deloitte accountant Simu Liu as Marvel’s newest superhero, a former assassin in the shadow of an evil father. It also features Awkwafina, Tony Leung and Michelle Yeoh.

The film, which has drawn strong reviews for its choreography and Asian representation, enjoyed the second biggest opening of this pandemic year, behind Marvel’s Black Widow, which had an $80 million opening.

By way of comparison, Universal’s slasher film Candyman topped the previous weekend’s box office with just $22 million before slipping to second place last weekend with a three-day take of $10.6 million ($13 million for four days). It stars Yahya Abdul-Mateen II.

In third place this weekend was Free Guy from 20th Century, at $8.7 million ($11.2 million for four days). The sci-fi comedy stars Ryan Reynolds as an everyman bank teller who finds himself inside a huge video game.

Paramount animation PAW Patrol: The Movie came in fourth, at $4 million ($5.2 million for four days). It tells the story of a boy and the brave young pups who help him save their city from an impeachment-worthy mayor.

And in fifth was Disney’s family adventure film Jungle Cruise, with a take of $3.95 million ($5.2 million for four days).

Rounding out the top 10 were:

Don’t Breathe 2 ($2.2 million for three days; $2.7 million for four)

Respect ($1.2 million; $1.5 million)

The Suicide Squad ($905,000; $1.1 million)

Black Widow ($748,000; $903,000)

The Night House ($552,000; $700,000).

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