‘Shang-Chi’ Aims to Retain Box Office Crown Over Clint Eastwood’s ‘Cry Macho’

Courtesy of Disney/Jasin Boland

Disney’s “Shang-Chi” is heading for a box office three-peat.

The Marvel superhero adventure, starring Simu Liu and Awkwafina, is projected to generate roughly $17 million between Friday and Sunday, which would represent a decline of around 50% from the weekend prior. Though two new movies — Clint Eastwood’s “Cry Macho” and “Copshop” with Gerard Butler — are opening nationwide, neither are expected to defeat “Shang-Chi” on domestic box office charts.

Since debuting in theaters over the Labor Day holiday, “Shang-Chi” has amassed $146 million in the U.S. and Canada and looks on pace to become the first pandemic-era release to cross $200 million at the domestic box office. So far, no movie has been able to crack that milestone but Disney and Marvel’s “Black Widow” ($183 million) and Universal’s “F9: The Fast Saga” ($172 million) have come closest.

In pre-COVID times, it wouldn’t have been particularly notable for “Shang-Chi” to hit $200 million in North America. But given the state of moviegoing during the pandemic, the film’s box office revenues have been encouraging to Disney. “Shang-Chi” is one of the studio’s few releases to debut only in theaters (rather than day-and-date on Disney Plus), a method it plans to continue through the remainder of 2021 with films including Marvel’s “Eternals” and Steven Spielberg’s “West Side Story” remake.

Among new releases, “Cry Macho” will likely pull ahead of “Copshop, but both films are targeting single-digit debuts.

“Cry Macho” is projected to earn between $5 million to $7 million from 3,800 theaters. Unless the $33 million-budgeted film defies expectations and manages to draw notable crowds, it’ll be the latest Warner Bros. film to tumble out of the gate while premiering simultaneously on HBO Max. Over the last few weeks, the studio’s sci-fi romance drama “Reminiscence” and the thriller “Malignant” have misfired at the box office — even by tempered COVID standards.

The 91-year-old Eastwood has been hit or miss at the box office in recent years. “The Mule” was a commercial success, earning $100 million in the U.S. and Canada and $174 million globally in 2019. However, his 2018 dramas “Richard Jewell” and “The 15:17 to Paris” failed to resonate with audiences and tapped out with $22 million and $36 million, respectively, in North America.

“Cry Macho” has gotten mixed reviews and holds a 50% on Rotten Tomatoes. The film takes place in the late ’70s and follows a Texan ex-rodeo star (Eastwood) who agrees to help his former boss (played by Dwight Yoakam) extricate his son in Mexico. In his review for Variety, chief film critic Owen Gleiberman praised the prolific filmmaker and referred to “Cry Macho” as “pleasant enough,” writing “It’s friendly and diverting and formulaic, in an inoffensive and good-natured way, and it’s a totally minor affair.”

The Western drama may compete with “Copshop,” an action thriller starring Butler and Frank Grillo, for ticket buyers. The R-rated “Copshop,” from Open Road Films and STX, is opening in 2,700 theaters and looks to make $5 million over the weekend. Set in a small-town police station, “Copshop” centers on a heated conflict between a hitman, a rookie cop and a con artist.

In limited release, Searchlight is debuting “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” in 425 venues across the country. Directed by Michael Showalter (“The Big Sick”), the awards hopeful dramatizes the rise, fall and redemption of famed televangelists Tammy Faye Bakker (Jessica Chastain) and Jim Bakker (Andrew Garfield). The couple gained prominence in the ’80s for creating what would become one of the largest religious broadcasting networks in the world. “The Eyes of Tammy Faye” had its world premiere at the Toronto Film Festival and received mostly positive reviews.

Elsewhere at the specialty box office, IFC Films has “The Nowhere Inn,” a mockumentary-style thriller starring Annie Clark (the musician known as St. Vincent), Carrie Brownstein and Dakota Johnson. It debuted at Sundance Film Festival in 2020, but its theatrical release was delayed because of the pandemic.