Shang Chi A Hit?

Shang Chi A Hit?

Shang Chi appears to be a massive hit.  A $90+ million domestic opening weekend with $56 million foreign is nothing short of amazing.  Stunning even, when you factor in that a Labor Day release never does better than $40 million tops.  Perhaps, startling is the proper term, when you see that all of this overnight rabid interest in the movie, must have driven the video pirates straight.  Nobody is downloading this film illegally.  Black Widow was the most pirated film in history but this flick, while available on the high seas, isn’t getting downloaded at all.  When you add that in, Shang Chi’s performance appears to be unreal.  Maybe that’s the best word for it, unreal.

Although, I think the newspeak term for this is actually “Fortified Box Office.”

Regardless, I need to make clear that I have no inside track at Disney and this is all speculation on my part.

My suspicions about this film’s awesome numbers were aroused by a friend of mine who had reserved a seat in a theater that was 90% sold out online.  But when he went to watch it, he was the only one in the theater.  Also, he walked out but this isn’t a review.

There are plenty of other stories like this out there.

If true, why do this for Shang Chi?  Captain Marvel was quite understandable.  Marvel couldn’t afford anything short of epic box office right before Endgame.  But Shang Chi?

Perhaps a better question would be, does this hurt Bob Chapek?

Answer: Greatly.

Chapek had banked a big part of his fledgling reputation on this film underperforming.  And now it’s a hit.  All of the trade publications, who are totally against Chapek BTW, are pointing out how big this flick is.  Chapek’s dismissive “data point” is now hanging around his neck.  

Since the accountant got something like this wrong, is he the right man to lead Disney.  Maybe it’s time to bring Bob Iger back?”  

Those are the remarks you are going to be seeing next week.  

Chapek looked at the numbers, and more or less said, if this is a bomb then my Disney+ plan is clearly the right way to go.  It was a very safe bet since the movie was tracking terribly.

Feige and Iger probably looked at each other and giggled. “Gee, how can we ever make this movie a hit?”  And then dug out the lessons learned from Captain Marvel.  If anything, the process was more efficient this time.

You are probably wondering if the box office was indeed “fortified,” then how is Marvel getting away with it? 

Two reasons.  

One. It isn’t that expensive.  Disney gets back 90% of the first week’s revenue on theatrical releases.  So, most of that money goes back to the company, and the ten percent that doesn’t can be written off as promotional expenses.  There is a reason these things fall off a cliff in the second week.  It doesn’t really hurt Disney all that much.

Although, this absolutely sodomizes the theater owners since the only way they make money that first week is popcorn and sodas.  No audience, nobody going to the lobby to have a snack.  It’s a brutal loss for them.

Second. Because Marvel, not Disney, is in charge of marketing and promotion.  Chapek really couldn’t do much to stop this, even if he had known about it.  And now that he does there is nothing, he can do about it.

Or at least he can’t do anything that won’t completely shatter Disney’s over-inflated stock price and get him fired.

If he orders a forensic audit and makes the results public.  Yes, he could prove that Shang Chi’s returns were fraudulent (assuming they were). But the golden Marvel brand takes a massive hit. And various government oversight agencies are going to be forced to crack open Disney’s books.  All of the rumors about Captain Marvel’s numbers will be viewed by the public as proven fact.  

It will crash the Disney stock price

And if the Feds look into Disney Parks, god help Chapek.  He was the head of the parks when the worst of that was going on.  Forget about losing his job, he could go to jail.

He can’t even make a discreet inquiry with the Johansson lawsuit in arbitration, Chapek doesn’t dare create a paper trail about something that could come out in the discovery process, if this suit escalates back into the civil courts.  Even so, Shang Chi’s opening weekend could support her case (California law permitting).

Marvel has had a win in its battle with Bob Chapek.  While Shang Chi will absolutely fall off a cliff next weekend, nobody is going to care about that.

This round of the Disney Civil War goes to Marvel.

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Comments (18)

  • WOPR Reply

    Let’s see, college sports kicked off. School is back in session for a good chunk of the country. And the parts where school isn’t open likely have restricted theater viewings. Weather, at least where I am was gorgeous. Other parts of the country are recovering from a hurricane. Sure it broke box office records. And someone got 81 million votes.

    September 7, 2021 at 1:20 am
  • Dave W. Reply

    I’d be very amused if Chapek ordered an audit on his way out the door. Don’t want to get my hopes up though.

    September 7, 2021 at 1:46 am
  • Corey Ashcraft Reply

    I’m surprised Shang-Chi is a hit. I think its a “hit” in the same way that “Captain Marvel” is a hit: meaning only superficially and only on paper.

    You know, 2 years ago I would have been first in line to see this movie. 2 years ago I would have seen this movie at anytime, even if the only showing available was a $25 ultra-plush recliner with food showing at Alamo Drafthouse.

    Now, I just do not care. There was literally no excitement on my part for this movie. I may see it eventually when I can rent it from redbox, which is a godsend since those movies have closed captioning, and I don’t feel like my deaf ass misses half the movie when I miss some of what is being said.

    Instead of Shang-Chi, I went and bought an early Charlie Sheen movie from 1986 called “The Wraith”. I enjoyed it and frankly it seems more interesting than Shang-Chi could ever hope to be. That is my level of interest in this movie, it couldn’t beat out a 30 year old “cult classic”.

    September 7, 2021 at 2:39 am
    • douglas dean whiddon Reply

      I love “The Wraith” haven’t seen it in 20 years. I may go back and watch it again.

      September 7, 2021 at 4:18 am
  • Wazdaka Reply

    Why wouldn’t a scandal like this be reported in the press?
    The internet is alive with rumors, it appears to be an open secret

    Is everything owned by one person now?

    September 7, 2021 at 3:05 am
    • furor kek tonicus ( Whipper Snapping Egg Suckers is my band name ) Reply

      why wouldn’t all of the Dem voting fraud in the last election be reported in the press?

      September 7, 2021 at 4:44 am
    • Chris Lopes Reply

      It could be because the Entertainment press has always been in lap dog mode. They need access to the people who matter (stars, directors, studio heads) to work. They pay for that access through journalistic fellatio. You will never see a story about this or any other form of imaginative studio accounting.

      September 7, 2021 at 11:08 pm
  • douglas dean whiddon Reply

    I will say this: two of my less-political friends saw it and said it was good. I won’t go to a theatre again until I can sit where I want. I looked it up on 3 pirate sites, 2 don’t have it AT ALL. The Pirate bay has it, but I’m not downloading “cams” anymore. And, the download numbers there are about 1/3rd of what Black Widow is still getting.

    September 7, 2021 at 4:22 am
  • Trimegistus Reply

    Watched it. No Woke posturing. Men allowed to be masculine. Heterosexuality, romantic love, and procreation shown in a positive light.

    There’s a little bit of “yas kween” feminism which got some claps from the college girls in the audience . . . but the most outspokenly feminist character is also clearly set up as a future villain, so I think the writer or director may be having a little fun manipulating the audience’s preprogrammed responses.

    September 7, 2021 at 2:06 pm
  • jorgen b Reply

    Ehat’s stunning is Americans’ lack of sentience that they can’t even boycott evil Disney because they much watch more reheated trash movies.

    September 7, 2021 at 4:27 pm
    • L. Beau Macaroni Reply

      Fewer than 10% of Americans are “red-pilled” enough to have poor opinion of today’s Walt Disney Corporation. We’re more than a fringe, but we’re not a particularly sizable minority.

      Bolstering your point, Jorgen, at least one commenter on this very thread (Trimegistus) told us that he saw Shang Chi in the theater.

      September 8, 2021 at 8:11 pm
  • MrUNIVAC Reply

    “He was the head of the parks when the worst of that was going on. Forget about losing his job, he could go to jail.”
    Now THIS is something that I’m highly interested in learning more about. I know you’ve covered the Skyliner crashes, but was there something else about his tenure there that was killing or injuring guests that he covered up?
    I figured the kid who got killed by the alligator was just stupid parents being stupid (although I feel terrible for that kid), but could you pin that on him too?

    September 7, 2021 at 8:19 pm
    • The Dark Herald Reply

      Look up Sandra Kuba.

      September 7, 2021 at 9:46 pm
      • Dave W. Reply

        Damn. The Devil Mouse is looking worse and worse

        September 7, 2021 at 10:07 pm
      • Herman Sheeple Reply

        Unfortunately Sandra will never get justice (RIP to her late husband). I guarantee Disney has already taken care of anyone in government or law enforcement that could. I live in Ontario and a couple years back watched our Provincial Government give the police a 9% increase in their wages. All the investigations into government corruption just disappeared. We are talking billions of dollars, multiple scandals and thousands of deleted emails and documents and nothing. The establishment are completely corrupt and government and business are a revolving door… one and the same… one party no matter who “wins” an election.

        September 9, 2021 at 4:58 pm
  • Herman Sheeple Reply

    Disney is suspected of doing the same thing with it’s Captain Marvel movie a couple years back. Nothing Disney does surprises me anymore. How many lies have they been caught in. Never forget Disney cruise ships visited Epstein’s Island… Just ask KK. The Disney logo even has 666 in it… Pure Evil.

    September 8, 2021 at 2:18 pm
  • Moonglum Reply

    It reminds me of a documentary I watched years ago about the notorious Deep Throat porn movie of the nineteen seventies. It was financed by mob money and the mobsters didn’t trust theatre owners to report ticket sales and gross revenue correctly (they expected the owners to claim that film had almost no business and pocket the profit) so the mob sent its guys into theatres with clickers to count the patrons in the house for each performance.

    September 8, 2021 at 2:44 pm
  • Dane Reply

    Not surprised the movie was ignored by Pirates. No one was really interested in watching this movie. Black Widow still had a bit of Nostalgia and hype pushing both its ticket sales and piracy. Shang chi though has neither. Even if this film had a decent first week its basically the Indian summer of box office revenues for Disney. She Thor should have a good entry because its the good bye for Chris Hemsworth and Spiderman 3 should have a good take due to the building hype of all 3 versions converging. But otherwise China has rejected Disney while Disney continues to reject Western male audiences. The next decade might be their last attempt to salvage their plan of rebuilding their fan base with critical race theory, fe.inists and the Lavender squad.

    September 8, 2021 at 7:31 pm

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