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Another month, another Disney/Marvel Studios superhero movie, and another slate of Hollywood records obliterated. But with a star character carrying a much lower Q-rating — a measure of a celebrity or brand's familiarity and prestige — than much of Marvel's universe, "Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings" represented a relative gamble for a studio that's churned out successive box office winners since 2008.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, the gamble paid off, again reaffirming the only three certainties in life: death, taxes, and the perennial financial success of Disney's Marvel Studios.

Shang-Chi And The Tens Of Millions Of Dollars

Despite dropping exclusively in theaters just as the ongoing pandemic lulled box office numbers back to sleep, "Shang-Chi" smashed Labor Day ticket sale records. Earning $75.5 million at the domestic box office, the film more than doubled the holiday weekend's previous record holder: Rob Zombie's 2007 "Halloween" remake, which pulled in $30.6 million.

One key to the film's success: Asian audiences. "Shang-Chi" marks the first Marvel film with an Asian superhero and a nearly all-Eastern-Asian cast. And with Hollywood grasping at strategies to reach more audiences, "Shang-Chi" may serve as a benchmark for the potential of untapped markets:

  • Asian audiences accounted for 17% of ticket purchasers in the film's opening weekend, more than double the demographic's typical turnout for Marvel movies, according to data supplied to Bloomberg by Disney.
  • The film's haul also marks Hollywood's second-highest opening weekend of the pandemic era, behind only Marvel's "Black Widow," which debuted in July to $80.3 million at the domestic box office.

Inspiration? Production for "Shang-Chi" reportedly began in late Autumn of 2018, not long after the first Hollywood studio film with an all-Asian cast in 25 years, "Crazy Rich Asians," dominated summer box offices.

Two Thumbs Down from CCP: Globally, "Shang-Chi" has raked in $146 million so far, even without the contribution of key market China, where government authorities have yet to approve the film for release. The exclusion marks a tough beat for Disney, which typically sees massive box office success from the People's Republic. 2019's Avengers: Endgame derived nearly a quarter of its $2.8 billion box office haul from China alone.