While the COVID-19 pandemic upended the entertainment industry, amongst so many others, it seems as though a sense of normalcy is beginning to creep back into society. Though many films necessitated secondary distribution when theaters were not an option at the peak of the pandemic, they have begun to re-open their doors in the past few months and to great success as moviegoers are eager to get out of the house again. A prime example of that came over the past weekend when the new Marvel film Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings premiered in theaters and outperformed virtually everybody’s expectations, raking in $90 million over the box office weekend. With renewed confidence in movie theaters despite a spike in COVID cases courtesy of the Delta variant, Disney has now opted to move up the release date of their next Marvel project Venom 2 and release the sequel two weeks earlier than anticipated.
Historically, Labor Day Weekend is a slow weekend for box offices as families and friends across the country try to squeeze in one last summer weekend before the fall. This made the success of Simu Lui in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings all the sweeter for Disney as the film shattered the Labor Day Weekend box office record previously held by the 2007 Halloween reboot. In the first three days, that film generated just $30.6 million in box office receipts compared to Shang-Chi’s $75.5 million, shattering the record and setting the bar for any films to come after it. This made it the second biggest box office opening of the pandemic, coming in behind another Marvel project in Scarlett Johansson’s Black Widow. The success of the project was so pleasantly unexpected that Disney is now opting to move up the release date of the upcoming sequel project Venom 2 by two weeks, with the film now set to release on October 1st as opposed to October 15th.
While many new films have been forced to opt to debut on streaming platforms as opposed to in theaters as they traditionally would, Disney isn’t turning their back on the model that got them so far. Disney CEO Bob Chapek even admitted that the theatrical release of Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was an “interesting experiment” at the onset, but that experiment has yielded better results than anybody at the company could have anticipated. Now they are using those results to help improve their decision making moving forward, and their first decision was to move up the release date of their next project. Now fans can mark off October 1st on their calendars for the impending release of Venom 2.