Chris Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ was the right movie at the wrong time

Tenet was supposed to be a brainy, counter-programming “event movie for adults” summer release, not the all-quadrant savior of the entire theatrical industry.

Tenet wasn’t the top movie at the domestic box office this weekend thanks to The War With Grandpa, but it’s still trucking along, relatively speaking. Warner Bros.’ $200 million time-inversion thriller earned another $2.16 million (-20%) in its sixth weekend of domestic release (not counting the first weekend in Canada which was added into its American debut frame), bringing its domestic total $48.3 million. It should be past $50 million domestic by next weekend, with a final total presumably at least above the $53 million cume of The Prestige from back in 2006. The good news is that California is starting to reopen (my local AMC opened for business this past weekend), but the bad news is that Regal is closing their locales until 2021. The $58 million cume of Rob Zombie’s Halloween in 2007, the current Labor Day champ, may be out of reach.

Tenet earned $9.8 million globally in 62 markets this weekend, bringing its international cume to $275 million and its global total to $323.3 million (including $30 million in IMAX). It has earned 85% of its overall grosses from overseas box office, behind only Resident Evil: The Final Chapter ($26 million domestic but $312 million worldwide) in terms of domestic/overseas splits for Hollywood movies. It is arguably playing damn well for a big-budget Hollywood original helmed by anyone other than Chris Nolan. Of the original live-action Hollywood flicks released since 2013, it is behind only Gravity ($723 million), Interstellar ($700 million), Dunkirk ($525 million), San Andreas ($474 million), La La Land ($441 million), Lucy ($459 million), Pacific Rim ($411 million), 1917 ($384 million), Once Upon a Time in Hollywood ($374 million), Now You See Me ($351 million), A Quiet Place ($341 million) and The Great Wall ($335 million).