Box Office: 'Tenet' Limps to $41M in the U.S. But Nears $300M Globally

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

Elsewhere, the 40th anniversary rerelease of 'Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back' collected nearly $1 million in ticket sales.

Without Los Angeles and New York, Christopher Nolan's Tenet fell to $3.4M from 2,850 locations in its fourth weekend of play for a subdued North American total of $41.2 million.

The $200 million espionage epic is making up for its disappointing domestic run overseas, where the Warner Bros. tentpole collected another $15.8 million for a worldwide cume of $283.2 million as it approaches $300 million globally, according to the studio.

Warners, along with box office analysts, expect Tenet's performance in the U.S. to improve once cinemas in New York City and Los Angeles are allowed to reopen in the coming days or weeks. Nolan's films always do big business in the country's two largest moviegoing markets.

Yet the overall box office recovery is imperiled in the U.S. as Hollywood studios move their tentpoles out of the fall corridor amid the ongoing pandemic. On Sunday, indie studio Solstice Studios, home of Unhinged, said that many cinemas across the country are reducing their hours of operation or even closing again because of a lack of product.

Over the Sept. 25-27 weekend, the box office was a patchwork of holdovers, a new BTS concert doc, smaller specialty offerings and even rereleases.

In celebration of its 40th anniversary the, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back hit the big screen again. The iconic pic collected an impressive $908,000 from 2,097 cinemas. Disney is handling the movie, as it now owns 20th Century.

The Empire Strikes Back placed high up on the chart behind Tenet, 20th Century's The New Mutants ($1.1 million), Unhinged ($1 million) and K-pop pic Break the Silence: The Movie, the latest concert doc about South Korean boy band BTS. Break the Silence, playing in 560 locations, opened to an estimated $960,000.

Elsewhere, Sony and Stage 6's The Last Shift launched in 871 cinemas. The R-rated company, starring Richard Jenkins, opened to an estimated $235,000 from 871 theaters, according to Sony. Jenkins had a busy weekend on the big screen: his other new film, Focus Features' dramedy Kajillionaire, debuted to $215,000 from 521 sites.

Breaking from tradition, Warner continues to block anyone from seeing Tenet ticket sales on Comscore, an industry receptacle for grosses. Sony is doing the same during the opening weekend of its films, such as The Last Shift. Both studios are borrowing a practice long employed by Netflix, which often gives its films a run in select theaters.

Over the weekend, the streamer opened Aaron Sorkin's The Trial of the Chicago 7 in 100 to 130 theaters, but didn't provide any numbers. The film debuts Oct. 16 on the streamer.