The final weekend in September’s box-office chart sees Shang-Chi in the lead for the fourth weekend in a row – the first film to pull off a four-peat since last year’s Tenet. Both films opened over Labor Day weekend and faced little-to-no competition throughout the month. Adding $13.3M over this past weekend, Shang-Chi’s total of $196.5M jumps over Black Widow’s $183.2M record to become this year’s highest-grossing film. While this Friday’s Venom: Let There Be Carnage will stop the streak at four weekends, Shang-Chi’s domestic total is projected to increase past $200M. The last movie to lead the box-office for more than four weekends was Black Panther, dominating for five consecutive weekends in 2018.
Buried by the headliner is this weekend’s newcomer, Dear Evan Hansen, from Universal. Based on the hit Broadway musical, Hansen’s big-screen adaptation seems to be another dramatic musical that is off-key (remember In the Heights). Its soft debut of $7.5M this weekend will likely translate to an early drop-off for Hansen – and that Universal will likely move the film to PVOD after just 17 days. Hansen had a short shelf-life anyway, because October’s incoming heavyweights will claim most of theatrical real estate.
With all titles considered, this weekend’s total adds up to $39.4M. Just a few days before Q4 ends, we can estimate Q3’s total to near $1.40B by the time Thursday 9/30 closes. Now, look at all the blockbusters laid out ahead:
Q4 has all the potential to not only surpass Q3, but also get the box-office much closer to pre-covid norms. On the high-end, October alone has been forecasted as the first month where the box-office can exceed 2019’s total of $781M. More conservative estimates place the month’s total at 80% of 2019’s October. For reference, May 2021 was only 19% of May 2019 – but the ratio has dramatically improved since then – July at 45% and August at 50%. September is likely to close with 60% of the month’s total from two years ago.