Hollywood got its first sense of normalcy at the box office after Warner Bros.’ espionage thriller Tenet, from director Christopher Nolan, generated more than $53 million Aug. 26 to 30 at the international box office. The film opens in the U.S. and China next weekend.
The much-hyped (and delayed) movie has been pegged by exhibitors and studios as a key barometer whether consumers return to the movies in the COVID-19 era. Tenet is the strongest international opening weekend (in 41 markets, including Canada) for a Nolan movie, which includes The Dark Knight.
Tenet, which stars John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, among others, opened biggest in the United Kingdom with $7.1 million in ticket sales, followed by France ($6.7 million), Korea ($5.1 million) and Germany ($4.2 million).
With Nolan a fan of 70mm films (and 4K UHD Blu-ray), Tenet performed well at Imax screens, generating more than $5 million in revenue.
“People have been very anxious to get back to the movies,” Megan Colligan, president of Imax Entertainment, told Variety. “These results speak to that.”
Toby Emmerich, chairman of Warner Bros. Pictures Group, said the return to box office normalcy is a marathon, not a sprint. Some Wall Street analysts contend consumers won’t feel comfortable returning to the box office without a COVID-19 vaccine is available.
Regardless, Emmerich believes Tenet has a long theatrical run ahead.
“We are off to a fantastic start internationally and couldn’t be more pleased,” he said in a statement. “Christopher Nolan has once again delivered an event-worthy motion picture that demands to be seen on the big screen.”