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Movie theaters needed a hero. Marvel delivered.

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The fate of movie theaters remains very much up in the air, given continued concern over the coronavirus pandemic. But Disney and Marvel’s decision to make “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” exclusive to theaters paid off in a big way this past weekend. The film shattered Labor Day weekend records, demonstrating that folks will still show up if you give them something worth seeing — and take away the option to watch it immediately at home.

That’s good news, and not only for the theaters that have struggled through some 18 months of closures and shifting mandates. It’s proof that American viewers still understand that there is something special about seeing a movie on a big screen — something distributors are also coming to understand in an age of at-home viewing where they can track how people watch movies.

First, the numbers: “Shang-Chi” grossed $75.4 million in U.S. theaters over its first three days and $94.7 million over its first four days. This is more than triple the four-day total of the previous record-holder, Rob Zombie’s “Halloween” reboot. These would be good totals at any time for a movie about an unknown character, even one with the Marvel Cinematic Universe stamp of approval.

But this is not any time. We remain in the midst of a pandemic, one........

© Washington Post

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