In an unprecedented time of bad news for box offices and movie theaters, there’s a sliver of good news to be shared. Variety reports that over the weekend, Christopher Nolan’s time-bending film Tenet passed the $200 million mark at the global box office, despite the pandemic, having grossed $207 million to date. While $200 million at the box office is certainly something to celebrate, Tenet is still struggling Stateside, bringing in only $6.7 million domestically. Last weekend, Warner Bros. said Tenet grossed $20 million in its debut weekend in the U.S.; however, per Variety, Warner Bros. reportedly fudged the numbers and included weekday preview screenings and the long holiday weekend in that report. Tenet grossed just $9 million dollars from Friday to Sunday during its opening weekend. Yikes.
Tenet’s lackluster showing at the U.S. box office obviously is not entirely Christopher Nolan’s fault, as only 65 to 75 percent of movie theaters are open at limited capacity in the U.S. with major markets like New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco still closed due to the global pandemic. As we predicted, Tenet, with its budget of $200 million, has a long way to go before it hits the $400 million mark it needs to hit to break even. Although it’s struggling financially, Tenet is faring better than Disney’s live-action Mulan, which similarly boasts a $200 million budget to Tenet but has only grossed $37.6 million globally as the #BoycottMulan movement continues to grow in Asia. Unlike Warner Bros., Disney made the decision to skip the U.S. box office altogether, making Mulan available to rent on Disney+ streaming service for $30. It seems clear that it’s still a tough moment to release your $200 million film. You have to imagine Nolan and his execs at Warner Bros are singing Cher’s “If I Could Turn Back Time” as the box-office numbers roll in. Oh wait …
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