Box Office: 'Tenet' Hits Tepid $29.5M in U.S. But Crosses $200M Globally

Tenet- Publicity still 6-H 2020
Warner Bros. Pictures

Elsewhere, 'The Broken Hearts Gallery' opened to $1.1 million to come in behind holdovers 'The New Mutants' and 'Unghinged.'

Christopher Nolan's Tenet is struggling in North America — where moviegoing remains off limits in Los Angeles and New York City  — but continues to impress overseas for an estimated global gross of $207 million through Sunday.

Over the weekend, the pic earned an estimated $6.7 million domestically from 2,901 cinemas for a cume of $29.5 million. The studio said it's a promising sign that Tenet dropped just 29 percent from the $9.4 million earned during the Sept. 4-6 weekend. However, it isn't an apples to apples comparison since Tenet unfurled over the long Labor Day corridor. Also, Tenet is now playing in 100 more theaters.

The tentpole is doing especially well on premium format screens. Imax locations alone have generated $23 million in ticket sales.

In an unprecedented move, Warner Bros. has been shielding domestic grosses from public view by blocking anyone from seeing Tenet's weekday and weekend numbers on Comscore, a receptacle for real-time grosses provided by cinemas. Sources say Warners wants to control the narrative, versus having rival studios weigh in.

Warners is reporting grosses normally for international markets, which are well ahead of the U.S. in terms of cinema reopenings. Tenet has now grossed $177.5 million offshore — including another $30.6 million this weekend —  for a global total of $207 million through Sunday. It isn't unusual for Nolan's movies to make far more offshore.

China leads all territories with a cume of $50.8 million. Tenet ceded the No. 1 spot over the weekend to Disney's tentpole Mulan, which opened well behind expectations in the Middle Kingdom with $23.2 million. (The live-action adventure has gone straight to premium VOD in the U.S. and some Western European countries.) Mulan's foreign theatrical cume is $37.6 million.

Warners has always said that Tenet will be a marathon versus a sprint amid the ongoing novel coronavirus pandemic.

Last week, indoor cinemas in New Jersey and Orange County began reopening in earnest. It was a major boost, considering cinemas in both areas are close to L.A. and New York City, where Nolan's films play best. Tenet's two top-grossing theaters this weekend were in Orange County, followed by a location in Northern Virginia, a Los Angeles drive-in and a theater in New Jersey.

Elsewhere, Sony is estimating a $1.1 million opening from 2,204 theaters for rom-com The Broken Hearts Gallery. Like Warners, Sony isn't allowing anyone to see the numbers on Comscore.

Sony domestic distribution chief Adrian Smith says the film's opening was "terrific." He predicts an especially long run.

Every film in the marketplace faces substantial challenges amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, including reduced capacity. States still completely closed in terms of movie theaters include New York, Maryland, Michigan and New Mexico.

Despite being the only new title of the weekend, Broken Hearts Gallery came in behind holdovers The New Mutants and Unhinged in addition to Tenet.

New Mutants, from 20th Century/Disney, earned $2.1 million in its third weekend from 2,704 locations for a domestic tally of $15 .3 million after getting skewered by critics. Overseas, the superhero horror pic has earned $14 million for $29.3 million globally.

Starring Russell Crowe, Solstice Studios' Unhinged has grown its domestic gross to $13.8 million from 2,365 sites after taking in another $1.5 million in its fourth weekend over the weekend.