SATURDAY UPDATE: Tenet switched places with local juggernaut The Eight Hundred on Saturday in China. The films were in a close race for the No. 1 slot, but the Chinese war epic slightly edged Christopher Nolan’s time-bending thriller, by an estimated difference of about $1.3M. The Middle Kingdom cume on Tenet is estimated at RMB 143M ($21M and including previews), through Saturday per Maoyan. That portends a weekend at around $30M, lower than where some were seeing it ahead of the launch. However, as we’ve noted previously, The Eight Hundred was always going to be a factor, and Nolan’s films tend to leg out.
Tenet is carrying an 8.4 audience score on Maoyan and an 8 with Douban critics. It added an estimated $11.8M on Saturday for a 37% jump from Friday. It currently leads presales on Sunday, so could still eke out a No. 1 win for the weekend, but it may be tight.
Including the Friday/Saturday gross of Tenet in China, the film should cross $100M at the international box office through today. It also debuted in Russia this weekend. Again, as noted previously, Warner Bros is playing close to the vest with numbers. Anthony will have the domestic details tomorrow, and I’ll have a full international report.
Meanwhile, The Eight Hundred has now grossed over RMB 2.3B ($336M) and Maoyan is predicting a finish at RMB 2.86B ($418M). It is already the top grossing movie of 2020 at the international box office, and at a $418M final, would be No. 2 worldwide for the year behind Sony’s Bad Boys For Life.
PREVIOUS, FRIDAY: Christopher Nolan’s Tenet launched in the Middle Kingdom on Friday grossing RMB 62.3 million, which included previews, translating into a $9.2 million take. Pic’s day, at $8.6M, bested local epic The Eight Hundred which is estimated to have grossed $8.2M for a running total of $323.9M.
It’s not certain yet if Tenet will best Eight Hundred for the top spot at China’s weekend box office. Nolan’s time-travel thriller noir is eyeing between $30M-$40M, which at the low end would still beat the filmmaker’s previous feature Dunkirk in China, which opened to $29.6M in September 2017 and finaled at $51M, repping 15% of that WWII movie’s $337.2M overseas total. Sources inform us that the estimated overseas box office for Tenet, sans China, is at $70M through yesterday.
Our sources say that Tenet was in play at 62% of China’s available screen supply. Maoyan audience scores are at 8.7 for Tenet versus Dunkirk‘s 8.1.
Tenet officially opened last night in the U.S. after three nights of Early Access previews. Warner Bros will report all their numbers officially on Sunday morning, nothing beforehand. The three-day stateside estimate for Tenet at 2,800+ cinemas in a marketplace where New York, most of California (except Napa and San Diego), New Mexico, North Carolina and parts of Washington, Florida, Michigan, Oregon and Pennsylvania are closed is $20M. Tenet is hoping to bank north of $50M from additional offshore openings in Russia, Serbia, Slovenia, Nigeria and Ghana.
The Nolan movie will face some serious competition next weekend in China when Disney’s Mulan finally marches in for a big-screen release on September 11.