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Tenet Box Office: Christopher Nolan’s Thriller Struggles In Its Second Week, But Also Crosses A Milestone – CinemaBlend

Himesh Patel, Robert Pattinson and John David Washington in Tenet

Taking a risk and debuting domestically over the extended Labor Day holiday weekend, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet had what can really only be described as a mediocre opening at the box office. While the film, sporting a budget of approximately $200 million (before marketing and publicity costs), probably would have ended up being one of the biggest release of 2020 under normal circumstances, it ultimately was only able to make about $20 million in its first few days on the big screen.

Given this total (which was reported at the time to just be for Friday, Saturday and Sunday), I noted in my column last week that a standard 40-60 percent drop would yield a second weekend score between $8-12 million… but now the latest numbers are in, and it seems that COVID-19 has taken another bite out of the earnings.

Per Variety, Tenet made only $6.7 million during its second Friday-to-Sunday, which calculates to a 66.5 percent drop from weekend to weekend (though the trade notes that the film actually only made an estimated $9 million in the same three day time span last week, as the $20 million figure came from including Thursday previews and Labor Day holiday estimates). Of course, ticket sales are deeply affected by the fact that not all theaters in America are currently open (major markets like Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco are still keeping them closed) and those in operation around the country are working with limited capacity audiences in promotion of health and safety.

Unfortunately, we can’t say for certain right now how much the movie has made total thus far in its domestic run, as Warner Bros. is currently not providing the industry with normal daily box office reports, with the studio evidently fearing the appearance of the numbers without context

As noted last week, there has been a particular focus on Tenet‘s release given the fact was set up to be a guinea pig of sorts for the industry to get a grasp on the potential of releasing a big blockbuster movie during the on-going pandemic, and thus far the reaction hasn’t exactly been positive. Warner Bros. itself responded to the opening weekend box office numbers by shifting their next big title, Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 1984, from October 2 to December 25 (it’s unclear presently what this means for Denis Villeneuve’s Dune, which just debuted its first trailer and is currently scheduled to come out on December 18). Universal Pictures also moved one of its high-profile fall titles, as Nia DaCosta’s Candyman will no longer come out on October 16 and instead will be moved to an unspecified weekend in 2021.

That being said, there are other major titles that haven’t budged. Cate Shortland’s Black Widow is still on the calendar from November 6; and both Cary Fukunaga’s No Time To Die and Pixar’s Soul are scheduled for November 20. Obviously we will keep you updated with any news if those dates change.

The news isn’t all bad for Tenet, however, as the the foreign box office is providing the film with a nice silver lining in its business narrative. While America continues to struggle with the onslaught of COVID-19, other countries that have been more successful dealing with the pandemic are seeing plenty of people buy tickets to see the Christopher Nolan film. Last weekend the blockbuster was on the verge of making $150 million globally, but now it has managed to successfully cross the $200 million milestone. It’s not surprising to see international audiences embrace a new release from Nolan, as almost all of his features have made more money abroad than domestically, but usually the ratio isn’t so extreme.

It only being Tenet‘s second weekend domestically, we can’t say for certain what its fully box office picture is going to look like by the time it’s done with its theatrical run, but it most certainly will be extremely influential on the immediate future of the industry. As always, stay tuned for more details and news as it develops here on CinemaBlend.

    • Eric Eisenberg
      Eric Eisenberg

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      NJ native who calls LA home; lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran; endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.

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Tenet Watch

Watch This Tenet Making of Video to See John David Washington’s Stunts – Collider.com

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Before getting into the family business, John David Washington (son of Denzel) was a professional football player. And judging by this fierce, wild, and invigorating featurette on the making of Tenet, his athleticism was needed in full force on Christopher Nolan‘s time-bending big-budget spy picture.

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Image via Warner Bros.

As you might know, Mr. Nolan is fond of practical effects in his movies, preferring to literally blow something up instead of making a computer simulate blowing it up. Judging by all the stunt work, car chases, gun fights, and martial arts takedowns hinted at and deconstructed in this making-of video, it seems like he has only heightened these impulses and modes of filmmaking. I was, in particular, flabbergasted by Washington’s gung-ho jumping into performing as many of the stunts as possible himself. When this guy hand-to-hand fights a ton of dudes, that’s him. When this guy runs through an opera house covered in heavy armor, that’s him. And when this guy literally jumps onto a moving truck, that’s him! I can barely walk for ten minutes without feeling out of breath — no choice but to stan a stunt king.

Washington and the rest of the cast — which includes Robert PattinsonElizabeth Debicki, and Kenneth Branagh — feel ready for the challenge and thensome, calling the motion picture they’re making full of images they’ve literally never seen on screen before, and ready to give what they can for their team. Based on the images and stunts hinted at in this making-of, they’ve given quite a bit and more.

Check out the full making-of Tenet video below, and hang onto something. For our review, of the film, click here (and to learn why we might be doing less theatrical reviews in the US, click here).

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Tenet trailer

Tenet trailer offers more clues to new Christopher Nolan mind bender – CNET

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John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in director Christopher Nolan’s movie Tenet.


Warner Bros. Pictures

With shades of Memento and Inception, Tenet is shaping up to be a mind-bender in the best way possible. Expect huge action set pieces, mystery and a dash of sci-fi from Christopher Nolan’s latest.

Tenet, which is still scheduled for a theatrical release in July despite the coronavirus pandemic, will see actor John David Washington play an elite spy, military-type operative and time engineer, somehow all at once. A new trailer dropped inside Fortnite on Thursday, and then on YouTube

It’s all got something to do with a test that apparently doesn’t have a lot of survivors. “That test you passed?” Martin Donovan’s character says to him at one point. “Not everybody goes. Welcome to the afterlife.”

His mission: Stop World War III. The word “tenet” is a password that ensures people take him seriously.

In one scene, Washington sees bullet holes in glass but says the shooting hasn’t happened yet. If this movie is about reverse-engineering events by bending time and space, we’re in for a crazy, awesome ride.

Other scenes in the new trailer shows not only numerous explosions, including a very big plane, but also conversations about the importance of reverse-engineering time to change the future. 

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John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in Tenet.


Warner Bros. Pictures

So Tenet isn’t about time travel, it’s about the people who can manipulate time and thus future events. Maybe? We’ll have to wait for more trailers to reveal clues to Nolan’s sci-fi world where nothing seems to be set in stone.  

Actors Martin DonovanRobert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kenneth Branagh and Michael Caine also star.

Tenet is scheduled for theatrical release on July 17, 2020.

Also on a side note, it appears that Nolan will be showing “one of his iconic films to Fortnite this summer for a full length free screening for fans,” so stay tuned for more details on that soon. 

New movie calendar for 2020 and 2021 following coronavirus delays


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