WEEKEND BOX OFFICE: The War with Grandpa Topples Tenet for Top Spot in North America

Photo Credits: Hoyte van Hoytema & Warner Bros. ("Tenet"), dir. Christopher Nolan; 101 Studios ("The War with Grandpa"), Disney / Pixar ("Coco")

The War with Grandpa emerged as the surprise #1 film at the domestic box office over the weekend, dethroning Tenet‘s five-week run as the top movie at cinemas across North America. 

The family title more than tripled our own pre-release opening weekend expectations, earning $3.6 million from 2,250 screens. The result is even more surprising considering it opened without the support of any Regal Cinemas locations; the second-largest circuit in the market shocked the industry on Monday, announcing it would temporarily suspend operations at all its 536 locations in the United States effective Friday.

The marketing presence for The War with Grandpa, released by the relatively new 101 Studios, was a fraction of Tenet‘s overall media spend––leading several exhibition circuits to get directly involved in promoting the title across their respective social media channels. That grassroots effort, aided by the starring role of Robert DeNiro, contributed to the success of the first family title exclusively available at cinemas since reopening.

The War with Grandpa scored a B+ CinemaScore rating from audiences despite registering poor scores on review aggregators Metacritic (36%) and Rotten Tomatoes (26%).

An even gender split in demographics provided by 101 Studios suggests the title was embraced by family outings back to the movies, with kids under 13 representing 30% of the audience and adults ages 25-44 accounting for 36% of the public.

It was the first time 46% of those polled reported going to a cinema since the reopening, citing the lack of an appealing title as the reason for their delay. Of those surveyed, 90% stated they felt “safe and comfortable with their moviegoing experience,” according to insights provided by 101 Studios.

Christopher Nolan’s Tenet settled for second place in its sixth weekend in North America (seventh, taking into account an additional frame in Canada) with a $2.1 million haul from 2,215 locations. It was another modest percentage drop for the Warner Bros. tentpole, sliding 20% from its previous weekend’s grosses for the second consecutive frame. Tenet has now grossed a total of $48.3 million in North America, about a third of that figure coming from premium and large formats.

The weekend’s top ten DMA markets for Tenet, in order of ranking, were: Orange & Riverside Counties/Greater Los Angeles; Detroit; Greater San Francisco; Dallas; Salt Lake City; Phoenix; Houston; Chicago; Atlanta; and Washington DC.

Eight of the film’s top ten locations this weekend came from California, a state which still has approximately 25% of cinemas closed across 15 counties––including Los Angeles.

Tenet – Top 10 Locations (Domestic) – October 9-11, 2020
1. Paramount Drive-In (Greater LA DMA),
2. Capitol 6 Drive-In (Greater San Francisco DMA),
3. Regal Irvine Spectrum IMAX (LA/OC DMA)
4. AMC Block Orange with IMAX (Greater LA/OC DMA)
5.  Solano Twin Drive-In (Greater San Francisco DMA)
6. Alamo Loudoun 9 (Washington DC DMA)
7. Celebration Grand Rapids 17 (Grand Rapids, MI DMA)
8. Cinemark Redwood 20 (SF DMA)
9. Cinemark Terra Bella Huntington Beach (Greater LA/OC DMA)
10. Cinemark Daly City 20 (Greater San Francisco DMA)

Despite its failure to re-energize the moviegoing audience in North America, Tenet has fared significantly better overseas with a $275 million cume. The title registered another weekend of sub-50% drops in key markets like Japan (-19%), Australia (-22%), Germany (-31%), Mexico (-34%), France (-38%), and Italy (-41%). Overseas admissions to date have hit 34.5 million, according to Warner Bros. 

Tenet – Top Overseas Markets (Cume)
China $66.2M
UK $21.8M
France $21.4M
Japan $19.2M
Germany $17.2M
S. Korea $14.6M
Taiwan $11.5M
Russia $11.1M
Spain $8.5M
Australia $8.3M
Italy $7.9M
The Netherlands $7.9M

Weekend Box Office Estimates – North America
October 9 – 11, 2020

TitleWeekend EstimateScreensPSADomestic TotalDistributor Week
The War with Grandpa $3,608,00022501,604$3,608,000101 StudiosNEW
Tenet$2,100,0002215948$48,300,000Warner Bros.6
Hocus Pocus$1,161,0002113549$40,677,375DisneyRe-Issue
The New Mutants$685,0001663412$21,991,061Disney7
Unhinged$660,0001608410$19,353,385Solstice Studios8
Coco$603,0001899318$210,329,015DisneyRe-Issue
Possessor Uncut$163,500303540$529,855Neon Rated2
Yellow Rose$150,000900167$170,000Sony1
Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back$145,000825176$67,552,875DisneyRe-Issue
The Broken Hearts Gallery$90,000721125$3,947,336Sony5
The Call$89,278195458$253,272Atlas 2
Save Yourselves!$62,857346182$269,467Bleecker Street2
Kajillionaire$40,000267150$493,705Focus Features3
Words On Bathroom Walls$26,550173153$2,505,457Roadside Attractions8
The Last Shift$20,00026476$607,605Sony3
The Personal History Of David Copperfield$15,00093161$1,874,133Searchlight7
Tar$4,35618242$6,2412
The Secrets We Keep$1,2572845$207,928Bleecker Street4

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