Christopher Nolan Gives Hollywood a 'Litmus Test'

Will Americans go see his movie during the pandemic?
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Sep 6, 2020 4:40 PM CDT
US Moviegoing Gets 'Litmus Test' With Tenet
This image released by Warner Bros. Entertainment shows Robert Pattinson, left, and John David Washington in a scene from "Tenet."   (Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros. Entertainment via AP)

In a litmus test for American moviegoing in the pandemic, Christopher Nolan's Tenet brought in an estimated $20.2 million through the holiday weekend in US and Canadian theaters, the AP reports. The result could be greeted as either the rejuvenation of US cinemas—more Americans went to the movies this weekend than they have in nearly six months—or a reflection of drastically lowered standards for Hollywood's top blockbusters given the circumstances. About 70% of US movie theaters are currently open; those in the country's top markets, Los Angeles and New York, remain closed. Theaters that are operating are limiting audiences to a maximum of 50% capacity to distance moviegoers from one another.

Tenet played in 2,810 North American locations, about three-fourths of what most major releases typically launch in. Theaters in Canada, where COVID-19 cases are much lower than in the US, began showing Tenet a week earlier. The film debuted stateside with nightly preview screenings Monday through Wednesday before the official opening on Thursday. Warner Bros. included all of the above in its estimated gross Sunday, along with expected returns for Monday's Labor Day. Tenet opened stronger in China. It debuted there with $30 million in ticket sales from Friday to Monday. Internationally, Tenet has exceeded expectations. In two weeks of release, its overseas total is $126 million, with a global tally thus far of $146.2 million.

(More box office stories.)

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