Tenet just pulled off the most impossible heist yet: a decent box office haul during a pandemic. The Christopher Nolan-directed blockbuster opened overseas this past weekend to a $53 million box office haul — surpassing the timid $40 million international box office estimates made ahead ahead of its release. It’s a silver lining on a very dark and stormy cloud, as Warner Bros. prepares to open Tenet in U.S. theaters amid rising coronavirus (COVID-19) cases and warnings from experts.
Coronavirus cases may be rising across the U.S., but hey at least Tenet made more money than industry insiders thought they would. The Christopher Nolan espionage movie starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson managed to blow low international box office expectations out of the water, earning $53 million at the international box office over the course of five days following its August 26 release.
The movie opened in 41 international markets, including Canada, showing on 20,000 screens total. Per a Warner Bros. Sunday report (via Collider), 32 markets in Europe and Middle East and Africa, where the film showed on 13,146 screens, accounted for $37 million of Tenet‘s international gross. Tenet also opened at No. 1 in every international market, with the top-earning markets being the United Kingdom ($7.1 million), France ($6.7 million), Korea ($5.1 million), and Germany ($4.2 million).
Warner Bros. Pictures chairman Toby Emmerich released a statement on Tenet‘s international box office success:
“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.”
But Tenet‘s success at overseas markets can’t decently predict how the highly anticipated film will do in the U.S. The movie can’t open everywhere in the States — many states aren’t ready yet, and it was recently reported that Warner Bros. is limiting where the film can screen in drive-ins. With the U.S. recently topping 6 million coronavirus cases, it is dangerous to recommend that people go to the handful of recently reopened theaters.
Tenet early access screenings in U.S. theaters begin on August 31. Tenet will be released on September 3, 2020.
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