Movie Theater Box Office Up Over 2020, 'Shang-Chi' Tops

Nine months into the year, movie theatrical box-office revenue continues to improve over 2020 -- but it is way down from the pre-pandemic 2019 period.

Year-to-date revenue -- January 1 through September 11 -- is up 21% to $2.3 billion, according to IMdb Box Office Mojo. However, it is a far cry from the $8 billion take in 2019, year-to-date.

Disney/Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” was the big earner this past weekend -- following up on its massive debut on Labor Day weekend.

For its second weekend, it brought a hefty $35.8 million from 4,300 locations.

Its first weekend, ”Shang-Chi” tallied $75.5 million for the three-day Labor Day period, and $90 million for the four-day holiday weekend period.

Comparing like-to-like three-day periods, the film had a “modest” 53% decline, according to Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore. The movie now totals $145.6 million in U.S. box-office revenue and $257.6 million worldwide.



Of the new movies released this past weekend, Warner Bros.' horror film “Malignant” took the top spot -- $5.8 million.

Through Sept. 11, year-to-date, movie studios have spent $406.3 million (158,411 airings, 47.3 billion impressions) in national TV advertising on movies -- up 26% versus $301.8 million (101,955 airings, 37.8 billion impressions) for the same period in 2020, according to

From January through mid-March 2020, movie studios were in a business-as-usual operation. After this period -- starting in mid-March -- virtually all U.S. movie theaters were closed due to the pandemic.

This year’s movie studio spending remains down -- less than half of 2019’s $897.6 million national TV spend (331,885 airings, 106.7 billion impressions) over the January through September period.

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