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The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

The student news site of Mountlake Terrace High School in Mountlake Terrace, Washington.

The Hawkeye

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The Hawkeye May 2024
1st Amend Award School

“Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” shatters Box Office records leaving other films in the dust

With the ever-changing state of the pandemic in different parts of the world, Hollywood blockbusters have taken their leave and quiet digital releases have replaced them. But the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s (MCU) newest solo superhero movie absolutely smashed Labor Day weekend box office records and beat out the other recently released solo superhero movie, Black Widow, and its box office sales. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings was released on September 3, 2021 to rave reviews, currently boasting a 92% on Rotten Tomatoes. Shang-Chi’s box office record has broken the mold of pandemic film releases, making a large profit under unprecedented conditions. According to Box Office Mojo, Shang-Chi made over $94 million over Labor Day weekend and has currently made over $200 million domestically, the highest for a film released in 2021. It is currently the highest-grossing movie of 2021 and could hold this title until the end of this year. While there have certainly been movies released this year that have had successful releases, they pale in comparison to Shang-Chi. The films that did hold the title of highest earnings on opening weekend, such as A Quiet Place Part II, soon lost the title once Shang-Chi came out. Released on May 28, 2021, A Quiet Place Part II was the highly anticipated sequel of A Quiet Place and made $57,088,948 during its opening weekend according to Box Office Mojo.

But the other highly anticipated Marvel film which was released two months prior to Shang-Chi,  Black Widow, made a disappointing $15,696,287, or roughly 17 percent less, domestically than its counterpart according to Box Office Mojo. These two films are the only Marvel releases in 2021 so far. 

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings also boasts a landmark achievement in Marvel’s history, being the first MCU film to have an Asian actor play the lead. There has been a recent lack of Asian Marvel characters with pivotal roles, usually being pushed to the background as sidekicks. Marvel’s Spider-Man and Doctor Strange are prime examples of this issue, showcasing white leads with an Asian side character who doesn’t have much agency in the narrative. Simu Liu is changing this, however, and is taking the helm as Shang-Chi.

Liu managed to land the part back in late 2018 when the film’s production was announced, taking to Twitter and simply saying, “OK @Marvel, are we gonna talk or what.” Around the film’s release, he stated in the Washington Post, “I’ve been manifesting this kind of superhero role for myself for a long time since before that tweet.” 

When he was younger, Liu always wanted a superhero role. He wrote an entire story bible for the Japanese X-Men member Sunfire in his early twenties, hoping to land the part. In 2015, he directed, wrote and starred in “Crimson Defender vs. The Slightly Racist Family.” The short film is about an Asian superhero who has to deal with a racist family that doesn’t believe he is a superhero because of his race. Liu has commented that he has seen and read the same superhero story over and over again, each one being tailored for only American audiences. He stated that he wanted to make a character that was more than the stereotypical “kung-fu Asian dude.”

On August 12, Disney CEO Bob Chapek made a comment which many perceived to be insulting to Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, calling it an “interesting experiment.” Liu made a Twitter post reacting to the statement. “We are not an experiment. We are the underdog; the underestimated. We are the ceiling-breakers. We are the celebration of culture and joy that will persevere after an embattled year.” Liu said. Kevin Feige, Marvel’s President, later stated that the use of “experiment” was merely a misunderstanding on Chapek’s part and was not meant to be insulting. 

Black Widow was a moderate start to Marvel’s 2021 releases, but Shang-Chi has truly gotten the ball rolling, paving the way for other Marvel releases. While Shang-Chi has certainly earned its title as the highest-grossing movie of 2021 so far, only time will tell if it will hold its title. Marvel is set to release Eternals and Spider-Man: No Way Home in the coming months. Both films will be released on November 5th and December 17th respectively. Until that time, Shang-Chi will likely hold on to both of its impressive achievements.

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About the Contributors
Theresa Van
Theresa Van, Hawkeye Staff
Business Manager Theresa Van is this a junior in her third year of HSM. This year she will work hard to contribute to the production of content for the Hawkeye as well as the yearbook. Although these are hard times, she will try her best as a member of the leadership staff to help and befriend everyone so that this school year will go smoothly for everyone. In her free time, she enjoys drinking bubble tea, watching Haikyuu and writing stories. She is also the ASB Interhigh President, IATRIX21 Vice President, a member of the Technology Student Association, a CONNECT leader and plays tennis.
Virginia Alsept-Beaty
Virginia Alsept-Beaty, Hawkeye Staff
Virginia Alsept-Beaty joined HSM because she has always had a passion for writing and wanted to improve upon her skills using journalism. Virginia nowadays enjoys writing news articles for The Hawkeye and the occasional lifestyle article. She also enjoys drawing and writing short stories in her free time, as well as Studio Ghibli marathons with friends. Virginia plans to attend Western Washington University in the fall and study creative writing.
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