Christopher Nolan's Tenet has crossed the $200 million mark at the global box office a number that largely reflects the film's international take due to somewhat lackluster performance as theaters in the U.S. continue to struggle due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. During its second weekend of release in the U.S. and Canada, the film brought in $6.7 million while in China, the film brought in $10 million, coming in second to Mulan at the Chinese box office.
Tenet's domestic numbers are a bit interesting when more closely examined, however. Per Variety, the $6.7 million number represents a 29 percent drop compared to the film's opening weekend -- which means that the $20 million debut number touted by Warner Bros. last week included weekday preview screenings as well as the long holiday weekend. In actuality, for just the Friday/Saturday box office, Tenet actually brought in $9.5 million for its opening.
Generally speaking, box office performance is tricky at the moment in the domestic market as between 65 and 75 percent of theaters in the U.S. have opened, but major markets in New York and Los Angeles remain closed. Other theaters that have opened are operating under reduced capacity and limited ticket sales as measures to enforce social distancing. Still, Warner Bros. has said that they are looking at a longer game for Tenet, having previously said this will be a marathon rather than a sprint.
"We're using the old marathon-versus-sprint approach," head of WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group Ann Sarnoff said previously. "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."
Now that those numbers have started coming in, there's been a bit of course correction for Tenet. Warner Bros. had previously not permitted Tenet to play at drive-in theaters in cities where it wasn't also screening in traditional theaters, but last week that decision was reversed. Tenet was able to play in five drive-in locations around Los Angeles as well as outdoor venues in Orange County, San Diego, Oakland, and San Francisco this weekend.
Still, it's going to be an uphill battle for the film and it's something that is already having impact on upcoming releases. Last week, Warner Bros. announced that Wonder Woman 1984 was being delayed yet again, with the Patty Jenkins-directed film moving from October to Christmas Day.
Tenet is now in theaters, starring stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine, Dimple Kapadia, and Kenneth Branagh.