After weeks of delays and anticipation, Warner Bros. finally released the Christopher Nolan blockbuster thriller "Tenet" in 41 countries this weekend, earning $53 million at the global box office.
The release of the original, time-twisting sci-fi film has been seen as a critical one for movie theaters around the world, which are looking for a respite after the COVID-19 pandemic forced closures that shut down the financially lucrative summer blockbuster season.
While theaters have been forced to put a cap on their auditorium capacity due to social distancing restrictions, the film still earned strong numbers given the circumstances, including a $7.1 million opening in the U.K., Nolan's home country. Nolan also set personal opening weekend records in nine countries, including Holland, Hungary and Ukraine. Other top markets include France ($6.7 million), Korea ($5.1 million) and Germany ($4.2 million).
Next weekend, the Warner Bros. film will be released in the U.S. and Russia on Sept. 3, as well as China on Sept. 4. Analysts expect the film to open domestically on around 3,000 screens, though that number could easily change given the unpredictable nature of the pandemic. Seven U.S. states including California and New York, as well as several major markets like Seattle and Miami, have not given clearance to movie theaters to reopen.
"We are off to a fantastic start internationally and couldn't be more pleased," WB Chairman Toby Emmerich said in a statement. "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."
"Tenet" stars John David Washington as a CIA agent, who is recruited into a shadowy organization that is trying to stop a Russian warlord (Kenneth Branagh) from setting off an apocalyptic war with mysterious technology from the future that can allow objects to move backward in time. Though some critics were left baffled by the film, the reception has been mostly positive with an 81% score on Rotten Tomatoes.