Nolan’s Tenet Draws Strong $53M International Opening from 41 Markets

Copyright: © 2020 Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. All Rights Reserved. Photo Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon

After a long anticipated release, Christopher Nolan’s Tenet has generated an estimated $53 million in its global launch through Sunday, topping expectations ahead of its debut.

Warner Bros. reported the first official projections this morning following the film’s international rollout that began on Wednesday. The movie is currently playing in 41 markets, including Canada, on more than 20,000 screens.

The 32 markets comprising Europe, the Middle East, and Africa grossed $37 million across 13,146 screens. Tenet has opened in first place at the box office in every market where it’s screening thus far.

“We are off to a fantastic start internationally and couldn’t be more pleased,” said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group. “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.”

Notable Statistics

Tenet‘s top markets so far include the United Kingdom ($7.1 million), France ($6.7 million), Korea ($5.1 million, and Germany ($4.2 million).

In the U.K., the studio notes that IMAX represents a strong 12 percent share — on par with Nolan’s previous releases. The company reports that the film is also over-performing in France, Korea, and Germany despite limited seating capacities.

More notes from the studio include:

  • Biggest ever industry opening in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia with $1.47 million from 131 screens and a 64 percent market share

  • Second biggest Hollywood film opening ever in Estonia, where the film was partially shot, with $340K for the weekend

  • Very strong market shares for Tenet in all key markets including 74 percent in the UK, 59 percent in Germany, 67 percent in Italy,  52 percent in Spain, and 78 percent in Korea

  • Excellent results from IMAX and other Premium formats where despite social distancing capacity restrictions premium formats accounted for over a quarter of box office in some markets. Nearly 250 IMAX screens on release in 38 countries this weekend grossed $5 million for a per screen average in excess of $20K, representing 9.4 percent of the overall gross.

The film also earned the biggest ever debut for a Nolan film in nine countries, including Holland, Ukraine, and Hungary.

Tenet releases next weekend in another six international markets, including Russia on September 3 and China on September 4. Those debuts will follow the United States launch with previews on August 31, followed by the nationwide release on open markets on September 3. Read more about our forecasts for its domestic release in this report.

IMAX Breakdowns

Worldwide, Tenet generated $5 million from 248 IMAX screens in 38 markets. Average capacity restrictions are hovering around 50 percent (and some markets are limited to 50 seats per screening). Despite those disadvantages, Tenet is over-performing in the format with a per-screen average of $20K.

The $5 million figure represents 9.4 percent of the pic’s overall weekend result, representing the biggest late August box office from international markets in IMAX history. That share is comparable to the 12.6 percent share of Dunkirk and 9.6 percent share of Interstellar. The company notes that 11 markets opened higher on Tenet than both of those films, including key markets like France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Turkey, Taiwan, and Malaysia.

IMAX is also reporting hundreds of “sold out” shows (again, factoring in seating capacities) with demand and pre-sales trends suggesting a long run ahead.

Tenet‘s top grossing IMAX market this weekend is the U.K. where it’s earned an estimated $900K from 48 screens, averaging nearly $19K per. That gross is only 25 percent behind Interstellar‘s U.K. opening weekend for IMAX. Tenet also boasts the second biggest U.K. IMAX debut in August history, trailing only Suicide Squad.

“As exhibitors sought to add more showtimes to feed audience demand seen during pre-release ticket sales, the film has also shown positive signs of a lengthy theatrical run with strong pre-sales spread out well beyond the usual “opening weekend,” said Craig Dehmel, Head of Global Distribution for IMAX Entertainment, in an email. “We expect Tenet to experience stronger than normal midweek grosses and shallower week-to-week drops, as audience moviegoing habits adapt to the current capacity limitations in most markets.”

The coming week will see Tenet release in an additional 900 IMAX screens across the United States (September 3), Russia (September 3), and China (September 4).

More updates as they come in.