Tenet was supposed to rejuvenate cinemas. Production studios were hoping that this blockbuster could bring people back. Yet, its opening weekend was at the lower end of expectations. On labor day weekend, Christopher Nolan‘s film only drew in $20 million. Warner Bros. got nervous about how it would be reported. Not all cinemas were open, so they worried it would’ve been portrayed as a major flop. No one was expecting the film to surge like it was pre-pandemic but it was understandable. At one point, the studio didn’t want to release the numbers, which led to rival companies to call out the lack of transparency. These difficult times are leaving their mark.
Now, everyone was anxiously waiting for the second-weekend results. Tenet has no major tentpole rivals so it could hold steady, or even increase as more cinemas across the country open. This weekend saw the opening of 100 more cinemas. As such, Tenet managed to remain somewhat steady and only drop by 29%. It’s a good hold for the current situation with $6.7 million. Internationally, the film did reach the $200 million mark. China is currently the top-grossing country. If you’re wondering if this is somewhat of a success, keep in mind that Warner Bros. just postponed Wonder Woman 1984 to December. Their other October release Candyman was delayed into 2021 without a specific release date.
In the grand scheme of things, cinemas won’t see a resurgence anytime soon. Warner Bros. and Sony have a strange obsession with only releasing in cinemas. It’s a noble gesture but we have no idea when “normalcy” will return, or even if. Numbers have been increasing once again in countries that saw a strong decrease. My own hometown has been hit hard lately with renewed restrictions. There is a good chance cinemas will have to temporarily close again. Tenet‘s performance is a reminder of rushing out a film in these times. It just continues to confirm that a potential digital or hybrid-model will become the new standard.