Tenet's domestic haul rises to a paltry $36M as the US box office continues to disappoint


Christopher Nolan’s newest film Tenet came out on top at the US box office this weekend with new grosses of $4.7 million as domestic releases continued to see disappointing earnings.

The second place spot was filled by Disney’s X-Men horror spin-off The New Mutants, which took in $1.6 million over the weekend, according to Deadline.

The box office is likely to be even more anemic throughout the fall, as there aren’t any more major studio releases scheduled until October 23.

Pocket change: Christopher Nolan's Tenet earned only $4.7M at the domestic box office for a disappointing $36M domestic total ahead of an anemic fall movie season, according to Deadline; still from Tenet

Pocket change: Christopher Nolan’s Tenet earned only $4.7M at the domestic box office for a disappointing $36M domestic total ahead of an anemic fall movie season, according to Deadline; still from Tenet

Currently, only three-quarters of movie theaters in the US are operating, but Americans haven’t been rushing back in large numbers due to coronavirus pandemic fears, even as major releases like Tenet have debuted in theaters rather than online.

Tenet’s $4.7 million haul came from nearly 2,930 locations.

Other returning films behind second-place finisher The New Mutants were the Russell Crowe–starring Unhinged, which earned $1.3 million, and the Sony rom-com The Broken Hearts Gallery, which only took in $800,000 in its second weekend.

The new arrival Infidel, which stars The Passion Of The Christ’s Jim Caviezel, came in third with a disappointing $1.5 million from just over 1,700 theaters.

Next best: The Disney/20th Century Studios film The New Mutants returned for its fourth week with a $1.6 million haul, putting it in second place; still from The New Mutants

Next best: The Disney/20th Century Studios film The New Mutants returned for its fourth week with a $1.6 million haul, putting it in second place; still from The New Mutants

Fans of adult dramas had the options of checking out IFC’s The Nest, which starred Jude Law and Carrie Coon, while thriller fans could peruse Bleecker Street’s The Secrets We Keep, starring Noomi Rapace and Joel Kinnaman, but neither film earned much more than $200 per theater.

The Nest earned around $62,000 in 301 theaters, while The Secrets We Keep took in under $90,000 from 471 locations.

‘There’s no question that this is an extraordinarily challenging marketplace, especially for North America,’ said Paul Dergarabedian, Comscore’s senior media analyst. ‘This is a slow roll out. It’s going to take some time.’

Theaters in the US haven’t seen the droves of customers they were hoping for after being open for about a month, and the current releases may have even hurt their standing.

Options: Fans of adult dramas had the options of checking out IFC's The Nest, which starred Jude Law and Carrie Coon, though it only earned about $200 per locations; still from The Nest

Options: Fans of adult dramas had the options of checking out IFC’s The Nest, which starred Jude Law and Carrie Coon, though it only earned about $200 per locations; still from The Nest

Worse off: Some theaters opened up specifically to begin showing Tenet, but its disappoint ticket sales have left many of them operating at a loss, according to IndieWire; still from Tenet

Worse off: Some theaters opened up specifically to begin showing Tenet, but its disappoint ticket sales have left many of them operating at a loss, according to IndieWire; still from Tenet

Some theaters opened up specifically to begin showing Tenet, but its disappoint ticket sales have left many of them operating at a loss, according to IndieWire.

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Some of those theaters would have been in better financial standing if they’d stayed closed longer to keep their expenses as low as possible.

Also hurting Tenet, which is likely to lose money, are the lack of open indoor theaters in New York and Los Angeles.

Tenet’s best market was in LA-adjacent Orange County, suggesting the film could make considerably more when those major markets are open. 

The next major release in the US won’t be until October 23 with 20th Century Studios/Disney’s Agatha Christie mystery Death on the Nile, with Marvel’s Scarlett Johansson–starring Black Widow following on November 6. 

In the distance: The fall schedule is mostly bare until Death On The Nile on October 23 and the November 6 premiere of the Marvel movie Black Widow

In the distance: The fall schedule is mostly bare until Death On The Nile on October 23 and the November 6 premiere of the Marvel movie Black Widow

It’s natural that we’re going to see release date changes for many movies,’ Dergarabedian continued. ‘It’s a very unpredictable marketplace.’

Globally, Tenet has also managed to cross a major milestone this weekend: The $250 million mark.

That puts it in contrast with Disney’s live-action Mulan, which has proved to be a disappointment.

After a weak debut in China last week, Mulan dropped a stunning 72 percent in its second weekend, after local audiences criticized it for being ‘inauthentic.’ 

The film added $6.5 million in China and $10.9 million total, bringing its international total to $57 million. 

The $200 million production was supposed to be a massive global theatrical release back in March and The Walt Disney Co. revised plans a number of times before settling on a hybrid release, where people who already pay for a Disney+ subscription can rent it for $30. 



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