Let’s get the good news out of the way first; Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is set to spend a second weekend at the top of the domestic box office with an estimated $31 million rolling in before the end of play on Sunday, which is a solid hold for the Marvel Cinematic Universe, typically a very front-loaded franchise.
Now, onto the bad. James Wan’s Malignant is the latest of Warner Bros.’ hybrid releases to hit theaters and HBO Max simultaneously, but that hasn’t stopped many of them from performing admirably on the big screen. In fact, last December’s Wonder Woman 1984 was the first of eight to open at number one, but James Wan’s Malignant is faring much more like Reminiscence than The Conjuring: The Devil Made Me Do It.
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Early projections had the bonkers horror movie in with a chance of reaching double figures in its first frame, but a dismal Friday has seen that revised down to a paltry $5 million, as per Variety. Wan’s first wholly original effort in a decade is generating plenty of buzz on social media for being perhaps the wildest thing you’ll see this year, but that clearly hasn’t translated into actually convincing people to check it out for themselves.
Something as deliriously unhinged as Malignant would make for excellent viewing in a packed cinema, especially when the third act comes along and delivers insane twist after insane twist, but it’s set to flop rather spectacularly instead. It wasn’t an easy title for the studio to market when even breathing a word of the plot would give too much away, and the schlocky delight simply hasn’t connected with casual audiences at all.