SUNDAY UPDATE: Christopher Nolan’s Tenet has surged to a $53M opening at the worldwide box office which includes 40 overseas markets and Canada. The numbers are a triumph on the highly-anticipated Warner Bros title which bows in the U.S., China and other markets this coming week and will see further international box office rollout through September.
The Tenet figures are better than pre-weekend projections, which were already difficult to call given this is the first major Hollywood movie to release in the pandemic era — amid an unstable landscape that features varying capacity restrictions and recent coronavirus spikes in some areas.
As we began to glean over the weekend, and as we wrote on Saturday (see below), momentum was building towards a bow at $40M+, so this is a very encouraging and promising debut, particularly for a director whose films tend to leg out. Suffice to say, there is joy in Burbank today, as well as for other studios and exhibition in general who were all on Tenet-erhooks leading into this release — it’s a positive sign for the theatrical business.
Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros Pictures Group, said today, “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.”
In terms of market breakdowns, the UK led all Tenet play at $7.1M on 3,114 screens and pulled in a 74% share. Demonstrating the hunger for significant titles, Tenet‘s UK weekend was over 500% bigger than the entire Top 10 in the market last frame. Following was France with $6.7M from 1,070 screens and with 68% of the total box office. Korea, which is one of the areas that has seen a COVID resurgence of late, did $5.1M from 2,228 screens and dominated with 80% market share. Germany landed $4.2M on 1,995 screens and with about 60% of the share.
The 32 markets in the Europe/Middle East and African region accounted for $37M of the weekend gross from 13,146 screens, where it also debuted to No. 1 in every market. Overall, Tenet is the biggest opening of a Nolan film in nine markets, including Holland, Ukraine and Hungary.
Nolan is somewhat synonymous with IMAX — Tenet was shot with their cameras — and results for the format did not disappoint. The total IMAX portion of the box office is $5M from from only 248 screens in 38 markets. The per-screen average was $20K. The full IMAX weekend represents 9.4% of the total. This is by far the biggest late August international box office weekend ever for IMAX. And despite the capacity restrictions, the 9.4% of international box office compares favorably to the IMAX opening weekend percentages from offshore markets for prior Nolan titles: Dunkirk (12.6%) and Interstellar (9.6%). IMAX notes that 11 markets bowed bigger than each of those films, including France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Turkey, Taiwan and Malaysia. Sold-out shows were reported across all markets
What’s more, per-screen averages are reaching pre-COVID blockbuster levels in many markets, including Denmark ($73K), Norway ($64K), Saudi Arabia ($55K), Finland ($42K) and Sweden ($38K — despite a maximum of 50 people per show in the market).
IMAX further reports that Tenet has shown positive signs of a lengthy theatrical run with strong pre-sales spread out well beyond opening weekend. The time-bending film is expected to see stronger than normal midweek grosses and shallower week-to-week drops, as audience moviegoing habits adapt to the current situation.
The overall IMAX weekend box office was $9M across all titles, the biggest since January, and the 2nd highest grossing global weekend for IMAX in 2020.
Tenet releases next weekend in a further six international markets including Russia on September 3 and China on September 4. IMAX will release on an additional 900 screens this week in the U.S., Russia and China.
Meanwhile, Disney/20th’s The New Mutants was also new this weekend, playing in 10 material offshore markets where it grossed $2.9M (including UK previews) for a $9.9M global launch. Next session adds 20 more markets incluidng the UK, Italy, Russia, Australia and Mexico.
The X-Men thriller saw the bulk of its takings in France with $1.1M at No. 4, behind Tenet and some local titles. Disney estimates that the market is overall down by about 15% versus the same frame last year. About 90% of cinemas are open with limited capacity restrictions in active COVID-19 locations (Paris and the Marseille area). Masks became mandatory this week.
In Spain, Mutants grossed $500K across the 5-day frame at No. 3. The market, which has had coronavirus spikes in some areas, is down about 30%. About 80% of cinemas are open and capacity is restricted to 75%.
Taiwan gave The New Mutants a $400K 4-day weekend at No. 3. With Tenet leading, the market is estimated to be up by 28% versus last year. Taiwan never fully closed its cinemas and there are no capacity restrictions.
In other play, the Josh Boone-directed film was No. 2 in both Thailanad and SIngapore, and No. 3 in Belgium and Poland. The UK’s limited previews brought in $300K.
In holdovers, STX’s Greenland added $1.3M from 1,470 locations for an estimated offshore cume of $10.2M. There were no new openings in the session.
Sony’s Little Women marched into China this week, adding $4.7M across a 6-day launch. The new take on the classic tale picked up a 9 on Maoyan and an 8.1 on Douban and now has an overseas total of $108.5M for $216.6M global.
Also from Sony, local title Padre No Hay Mas Que Uno 2 has become Spain’s highest-grossing movie of the year. The comedy sequel has an $11.7M cume and was off by just 4% this weekend to add $700K.
And, in China, The Eight Hundred is at just about $280M through Sunday.
More updates as they come…
PREVIOUS, SATURDAY UPDATE: Now with four days of play under its belt during initial overseas rollout, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet could be looking at a Wednesday-Sunday opening of $40M+. Warner Bros continues to keep a tight lid on international box office numbers, but we have been able to glean insight from certain markets which pushes the start closer to where some bullish industry sources saw the picture heading before the debut last week.
In total this session, there are 40 offshore markets playing what has been the most highly anticipated film on the part of exhibition and audiences alike around the globe during the COVID-era reopening process (we are not including Canada which also launched this weekend as those figures will roll up into domestic).
The Korea cume through Saturday is $4.13M per Kobiz. That includes last weekend’s previews and a Saturday of $1.19M on 2,216 screens. This is a 58% increase from Friday, but is lower than the F-S jump of some big recent local titles. That leads us to revise the market opening projection to around $5M. This is not a blight on the mind-bending Tenet, rather, given a spike in coronavirus cases, Korea has seen an overall slowdown in moviegoing. Tenet nevertheless is dominating at a 79% share of the total box office.
The European majors where Nolan’s John David Washington/Robert Pattinson/Elizabeth Debicki-starrer has opened this weekend are expected to be strong — though of course there is the codicil that cinemas are operating under capacity restrictions. We hear the UK is leading all play, a natural occurence given the affinity for the filmmaker there (and Italy did $1.2M through Friday — 122% bigger in three days than the full previous frame’s Top 10 titles). Still, without the COVID resurgence, Korea might have been the top market coming out of this frame. Australia is also understood to be doing encouraging numbers after early previews last weekend. And, as we suggested in the preview, Taiwan could be a zone to pop.
As markets around the world grapple with reopening/sanitary procedures and a trepidatious public, Tenet’s performance gets an asterisk — as will many upcoming movies. But a potential $40M+ bow, whether it lands slightly below or above, is good news.
We’ll have a full update on Sunday.
PREVIOUS, THURSDAY: Christopher Nolan’s Tenet has begun its offshore rollout, and while Warner Bros is keeping a tight lid on grosses until fully reporting Sunday, some international box office information is available on the highly-anticipated title.
In Korea, one of the key plays on Tenet, the Wednesday opening day was a little over $827K from 2,228 screens. The John David Washington/Robert Pattinson/Elizabeth Debicki-starrer dominated the market at a 79% share according to Kobiz. Thursday added another $596K on 2,179 for a 28% drop which is about the average Wednesday-Thursday decrease for major recent releases, and the numbers should rise again on Friday. The cume through two days is $1.42M. Factoring in previews that took place last weekend, the total is $2.14M so far, portending a debut around $6M-$7M (including previews) if it follows the trend of big recent titles — and if the market situation remains stable.
The daily per-screen averages have been relatively small. However, as we noted in the international box office preview earlier this week, Korea is facing a surge of coronavirus cases and recently tightened social distancing guidelines in Seoul to limit gatherings.
Today, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun evoked the possibility of moving to Level 3. Should that come to pass, cinemas would be shuttered. Per Yonhap, Chung said, “The government has made efforts to slow down the pace of the pandemic, but we haven’t had much improvement. Some call for raising the level, while others want a wait-and-see stance, citing insufficient preparation and the economic impact.”
Essentially, Korea is a wait-and-see market that, without the recent cluster outbreaks, might have seen Tenet do upwards of $15M on opening weekend.
Other markets now having lauched Tenet through Thursday include the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Australia, Netherlands, Taiwan and more. It’s understood these are all No. 1 bows and the results are encouraging.
Meanwhile, in China, The Eight Hundred crossed $200M today. It’s at $207.5M (RMB 1.43B) through Thursday and leads pre-sales for the coming days. Maoyan is predicting an RMB 3.16B ($459M) finish. The IMAX portion of The Eight Hundred through Thursday is about $13M. On Tuesday, IMAX had its biggest day of the year so far in China with $2.7M from 647 screens.
The Eight Hundred is currently followed by Love You Forever, which on Tuesday — Chinese Valentine’s Day — set a new single-day 2020 record of RMB 277M ($40.2M). The current cume on that picture is RMB 349M ($50.6M).
Nolan’s Inception enters China tomorrow in its 10th anniversary edition, further whetting the appetite for Tenet which bows next Friday, September 4. Per Maoyan, Tenet leads pre-sales for that day and across next weekend.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.