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Cairns on Cinema - A look back at the numbers from pandemic summer 2021

Whether we see a true return to pre-pandemic box office is hard to say

NORTH BATTLEFORD - Welcome to our annual recap of the summer box office, this time for 2021.

I suppose the big story this year is that there was a summer box office at all in 2021, after the utter disaster and debacle that was the summer of 2020. At least this year we had some actual movies making money in the theaters, for a change.

One example: Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, opened on the Labour Day weekend and hauled in $94.6 million over the four days according to Box Office Mojo figures, for a new Labour Day record.

That haul tells you plenty about the current release environment — it seems like potential hit movies are just as likely to roll out in September or October, and perform well, as they are the rest of the year. Anyway, this haul by Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is a good sign of recovery for the whole industry.

Whether we will see a true return to pre-pandemic box office is hard to say. We have vaccine passports coming in, and mask mandates coming back, and all kinds of hesitancy by people to be out in public and in theatres. So my earlier optimism for a big fall and winter has been dampened considerably. One piece of news about the fall: Disney has pledged to have theatre-only releases this fall, so that ought to help the cinemas out a bit and boost some of the numbers.

Now here is a look at the current numbers of the summer releases as reported by Box Office Mojo, with many of these flicks still in the cinemas making money:

Black Widow $183,159,698 Disney

F9: The Fast Saga $172,929,475 Universal Pictures

A Quiet Place Part II $160,072,261 Paramount Pictures

Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings $150,145,729 Disney

Jungle Cruise $110,114,117 Disney

Free Guy $102,448,540 20th Century Studios

Cruella $86,102,206 Disney

Space Jam: A New Legacy $70,243,307 Warner Bros.

The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It $65,565,074 Warner Bros.

The Boss Baby: Family Business $ $57,111,365 Universal

I’m not quite ready to call the summer box office race yet because Shang-Chi is still being in theatres and making a considerable amount of money. It would not surprise me if it ends up on top of this list when all is said and done.

This would be weird. Shang-Chi really seems like more of a “fall” season movie at this point rather than a true “summer” movie. Anyway, these are the numbers as of Sept. 16.

So that’s that for Summer 2021, and it’s on to the fall. See you soon.