Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” crossed the $200 million mark globally, even as U.S. cinemas struggle to draw audiences during the pandemic.
The time-bending sci-fi thriller generated $6.7 million in its second weekend of release, representing a 29% drop compared to opening weekend. Last weekend, Warner Bros., the studio behind “Tenet,” touted a $20 million debut. But a closer dissection of those numbers reveal they were heavily spun to include days of preview screenings and the long holiday weekend. In reality, “Tenet” only made about $9 million between Friday and Sunday.
In an attempt to control conversation around “Tenet’s” box office performance, Warner Bros. has been shielding domestic grosses for the film. Traditionally, studios share box office information on a daily basis, but that hasn’t been the case with “Tenet.” The studio wants to ensure that reports and rivals don’t unfairly contextualize the results and label them a flop.
Roughly 65-75% of theaters in the U.S. have reopened, but major markets like New York, Los Angeles and San Fransisco still remain closed. Cinemas that have resumed business have done so at reduced capacity, automatically limiting ticket sales.
“Tenet” has made bigger waves overseas, where coronavirus has been more under control and movie theaters have been able to reopen to a more significant degree. Part of the reason that Warner Bros. opted to release “Tenet” during the pandemic is because Nolan’s films often make more money internationally than they do stateside.
Ticket sales for “Tenet” reached $177.5 million at the international box office and $207 million globally. “Tenet” made $10 million in China, the world’s second biggest moviegoing market, bringing box office receipts in that region to $50 million.
In China, “Tenet” landed in second place on box office charts behind “Mulan.” Disney’s live-action remake of the 1998 cartoon collected $23.2 million in opening weekend ticket sales, an underwhelming result for a movie that was all but engineered for its appeal to Chinese audiences. So far, “Mulan has made $37.6 million globally. “Mulan” is forgoing a theatrical release in the U.S., and instead is available to rent on Disney Plus for $30.
Among new releases, Sony’s romantic comedy “The Broken Hearts Gallery” made $1.125 million from 2,204 screens over the weekend. Given the challenging environment, the studio called that number “terrific.” Sony acquired the film for $8 million, so it doesn’t exactly need to reach blockbuster levels to turn a profit.
“Early numbers are encouraging,” said Adrian Smith, Sony’s head of domestic distribution. “We’re excited to see how the film plays over time and how word of mouth about the film propels it.”
Among holdovers, Disney’s “The New Mutants” continues to struggle and generated $2.1 million over the weekend. The poorly reviewed superhero adventure is also flailing overseas, where it scraped together $3.8 million from 36 international markets. After three weekends in theaters, “The New Mutants” has made $15.3 million in the U.S. and $29 million worldwide.
“Unhinged,” a road-rage thriller starring Russell Crowe, held steady in its fifth weekend, bringing in $1.5 million over the three-day stretch. That boosts domestic ticket sales to $13.8 million.
More to come…
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