Tenet has hit the international box office and the weekend results are in. Projections had Christopher Nolan’s mega-budget sci-fi/action spy thriller coming in at around $40m+, but the actual numbers have surpassed that expectation. As of this writing, the Warner Bros. tentpole film has grossed $53.6m in over 40 international markets. Tenet’s box office take looks good.
This is certainly a relief to Warner Bros. and Nolan. Worries about customer attendance were due to coronavirus fears still lingering. However, many international markets have had a better response to the pandemic and audiences are clearly feeling comfortable enough to head out to see Tenet. By exceeding previous box office expectations, Warner Bros. has to feel pretty positive with the film’s overall international take.
The biggest box office market for Tenet was in the United Kingdom. Nolan’s homeland came out and supported the filmmaker with a $7.1m opening weekend. Additionally, the IMAX take for Tenet was $5m. Nolan shot Tenet on IMAX cameras and he has been a big supporter of their brand and format. Seeing as how Nolan has become deeply linked with the IMAX experience, this is a good sign that the film will have some legs in the IMAX format, especially with no competition for IMAX theaters in the coming months.
This is all to say that Tenet is performing very well in international box office numbers. It will open later this week in Russia, China, and the United States. That will include an additional 900 IMAX screen across all three markets. Warner Bros. Pictures chairman Toby Emmerich released this statement regarding the current success of Tenet:
“We are off to a fantastic start internationally and couldn’t be more pleased. Christopher Nolan has once again delivered an event worthy motion picture that demands to be seen on the big screen, and we are thrilled that audiences across the globe are getting the opportunity to see Tenet. Thank you to our exhibition partners for their tireless efforts in reopening their cinemas in a safe and socially-distanced way. Given the unprecedented circumstances of this global release we know we’re running a marathon, not a sprint, and look forward to long playability for this film globally for many weeks to come.”
Warner Bros. is hoping that this international success will translate to the domestic box office when Tenet opens in the United States this weekend. However, the United States is dealing with the pandemic in a much different way than the rest of the world. It remains to be seen how enthusiastic Americans are about going back to the movies.
The New Mutants topped the domestic box office weekend with only $7m, though that is certainly a less desired title than Nolan’s blockbuster. Plus, Warner Bros. is limiting the film’s ability to play in drive-in theaters if it’s not also available in traditional theaters in the same area. It’s possible that this could end up hurting Tenet‘s box office since drive-in theaters have seen an enormous resurgence due to the pandemic.
Suffice to say that Tenet is doing great box office business around the globe, but it might be hard to use that as a gauge for how well it will do in the United States. Granted, its best bet is playing the long game. By being the only notable big-screen experience around for potentially months could be its greatest strength. That’s obviously the case in international markets. Whether or not that will be equally beneficial in America remains to be seen.