Tenet earns just $4.7 million in its third weekend in US theaters. The 2020 domestic box office has taken a major hit thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, which closed down movie theaters for a good percentage of the year and delayed most major films. For a while, Christopher Nolan's Tenet looked like it would be the film to restore the box office after its unprecedented shutdown. Tenet was initially scheduled for July, but after several delays it ended up scoring a staggered domestic release in early September. As the biggest film to open since the pandemic began, all eyes have been on it.
Sadly, though, Tenet has gotten off to a slower start than some hoped for. While it isn't yet playing throughout the entire United States (since areas in California and New York remain closed) and theaters are still operating at lowered capacities, Tenet seemed to open at only $20 million. However, that number later proved to be something of an overstatement, as Warner Bros. neglected to break down the $20 million total over Thursday and preview showings. In its three-day opening weekend, Tenet grossed $10 million, and the numbers have been going down ever since.
Warner Bros. now reports that Tenet has earned $4.7 million in its third weekend. Compared to last weekend, this is only a 30% drop, as the spy flick earned $6.7 million then. Earning $4.7 million brings its domestic total to $36.1 million, while overseas it has earned a far better $214 million. In total, Tenet's worldwide gross stands at $250 million.
While a third weekend of only $4.7 million isn't exactly a cause for celebration, it's worth pointing out that Tenet didn't suffer a dramatic drop between weekends. Warner Bros.' current strategy for Tenet is to score a longer run as opposed to one that rakes in most of its cash right away. If Tenet can hold steady within the next few weeks, it could end up with some seriously long legs. On the other hand, it's hard to deny Tenet hasn't been the movie theater savior studios were hoping for. People remain cautious about returning to theaters, and the prolonged closures of the country's biggest markets likely isn't helping.
There are two things working in Tenet's favor right now: Its lack of competition and its overseas grosses. Tenet remains the biggest movie in US theaters, and it will stay that way until Death on the Nile on October 23 (provided Disney doesn't move it). Beyond that, it continues to perform well internationally, which is helping its overall success. Tenet must gross $500 million to break even, so it still has a ways to go. Unfortunately, the United States isn't doing much to help it along, but international audiences are keeping it afloat.