tenet box office

Tenet has hit a major box office milestone, crossing the $250 million mark at the global box office. But while all is rosy for Christopher Nolan‘s spy film overseas, the Tenet box office numbers continue to stall in the U.S., where it earned a paltry $4.7 million in its third weekend.

Variety reports that international ticket sales have pushed Tenet passed the $250 million mark in global ticket sales, even as the Warner Bros. film struggles to bring in audiences in U.S. theaters. The overseas performance was boosted by a strong reception in Japan, where the film made $1.15 million from just 38 IMAX screens over its three-day debut, in the biggest-ever bow for the format.

But in the U.S., Tenet still lags behind enormously, with the film earning only $4.7 million in its third weekend, bringing its North American total gross to an underwhelming $36.1 million. It’s becoming clear that Tenet is not the “savior of cinemas” it was billed as, at least in the U.S., where 70% of theaters have reopened.

But major markets New York and Los Angeles, which make up the bulk of the country’s ticket sales, remain closed, and the reopened multiplexes are operating at reduced capacity due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Variety notes that executives are “optimistic” that movies will see an increase in sales as additional markets begin to reopen, even as the U.S. passed 200,000 COVID-19 deaths this past week. Theaters in the greater L.A. area, including Orange County, have reopened, for example, and three of the top 5 highest-grossing venues this past weekend were in California, despite 80% of theaters in the state being closed.

Meanwhile, Disney’s Mulan — despite showing strong numbers on premium VOD on Disney+ — is continuing to falter in China, where its box office numbers have dropped 72% in its second weekend, raking in only $6.5 million in the country. The live-action remake has made $36 million in China thus far, and raked in $57 million globally — not great numbers for a movie that cost $200 million to produce. Disney has yet to report how many subscribers paid the extra $30 fee to watch Mulan on Disney+, which is the only format on which it’s available in the U.S. and some European countries, though reports suggest it’s performing better than Tenet.

The only new wide release this past weekend was Infidel, an espionage thriller executive produced by conservative political pundit Dinesh D’Souza. It made $1.5 million from 1,724 theaters. At the indie box office, Bleecker Street’s World War II drama The Secrets We Keep, starring Joel Kinnaman and Noomi Rapace, took in $89,955 from 471 theaters in the U.S., at an average of $191 per location. But movies (and potential competition for Tenet) will likely remain scarce at theaters in the near future, with the delay of major films like Warner Bros.’ Wonder Woman 1984 to December and Universal’s Candyman to 2021.

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