‘Shang-Chi’ rules the box office once again as ‘Malignant’ flops

Theatrical exclusivity once again served as a strong indicator of box office success over the weekend, as Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” dominated ticket sales with an estimated $35.8 million in its second weekend.

That gross marked a dip of just 53 percent from its record-breaking opening, putting “Shang-Chi” at more than $145 million in North America already. The Destin Daniel Cretton superhero blockbuster is on track to become the highest-grossing movie of the year, as it stands less than $40 million behind “Black Widow” on the yearly chart. Around the world, “Shang-Chi” has earned more than $258 million.

In second place, another theaters-only feature: “Free Guy.” The Ryan Reynolds film continues to perform at the box office, with a $5.8 million gross to push its domestic total over $101 million. Globally, “Free Guy” has hit $277 million.

Those successes stand in stark contrast to “Malignant.” The new horror film from “Aquaman” and “The Conjuring” hitmaker James Wan earned just $5.57 million as it also premiered simultaneously on HBO Max. “Malignant,” which has a twist ending that burned up social media, left audiences in theaters perplexed: the film earned a paltry C-grade from Cinemascore which tracks audience responses.

The other films in the top five were holdovers: “Candyman” earned $4.83 million to hit $48 million in North America. “Jungle Cruise,” meanwhile, continued to produce, with $2.4 million and $109.9 million overall.

The success of “Shang-Chi” has kept theaters optimistic about the fall, with “Dear Evan Hansen” (September 24), “Venom: Let There Be Carnage” (October 1), and “No Time to Die” (October 8) all set for wide release in the coming weeks.

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