Christopher Nolan's new movie Tenet is off to a solid start at the international box office - especially in China. Tenet has earned $9.2 million in the Chinese market from its opening on Friday and preview night on Thursday. That amount translates to $30-40 million opening weekend. For comparison, Tenet's $9 million start keeps it on pace with Nolan's previous release, Dunkirk, which went on to open at $29.6M in September 2017, and earn $51M total in the Chinese market (about 15% of Dunkirk's overall earnings). Right now, Tenet is reportedly looking at a $70M international box office, without factoring in the Chinese market.
Deadline reports that Tenet has opened in 62% of China's available theaters, with a slight uptick in audience score when compared to Dunkirk. In the US market, Tenet is estimated to earn $20M in its Labor Day weekend opening and $50M overall. The caveat, of course, is that the film is opening at a time when some major state markets are out of play (NY, most of CA, New Mexico, North Carolina, and portions of Washington, Florida, Michigan, Oregon, and Pennsylvania). In many ways, Tenet is the 'canary in the coal mine' that's being sent down to test out if the US movie theater industry could be rekindled, following the coronvarius pandemic.
As WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group head Ann Sarnoff recently revealed, Warner Bros. is hoping to use a longer theatrical release window to help Tenet earn big over time, rather than in a big rush:
"We’re using the old marathon-versus-sprint approach," Sarnoff told Variety. "We’re in it for the long game. It’s so unprecedented to launch it this way. We’re feeling good and waiting for some numbers to start coming in."
Here's the synopsis for Tenet below - you can watch our Spoiler-Free Review above:
"In a twilight world of international espionage, an unnamed CIA operative, known as The Protagonist, is recruited by a mysterious organization called Tenet to participate in a global assignment that unfolds beyond real-time. The mission: prevent Andrei Sator, a renegade Russian oligarch with precognition abilities, from starting World War III. The Protagonist will soon master the art of "time inversion" as a way of countering the threat that is to come."
Tenet is now in theaters (where available).