Christopher Nolan’s latest film set the high water mark for wide releases in the pandemic era.
Releasing a mega budget film into the wild west of the Covid-19 landscape was always going to be risky. To make back the huge expense, you’d need to release wide during a pandemic where large gatherings are touchy affairs. Even some reviewers balked at the idea of sitting in theaters – and they got special treatment such as social distancing that may not be adhered to by your local cinemaplex hurting for cash. Looking at the first weekend of returns, Tenet convinced a notable amount of viewers to take the gamble.
This Week in Box Office History.
The box office was up 110% from last weekend, powered by Nolan’s big release. Tenet accounted for more than 2/3rds of ticket sales all by itself. Total sales was down 80% from last year…which is actually the best the box office had managed since Covid-19 got rolling in the US.
While Tenet won’t be rivaling Inception or The Dark Knight for opening weekends, its 20 million dollar haul is far and away the biggest for a new film during this new landscape. In other good news, all three films in the top bracket were wide releases with healthy totals, showing that ticket demand may be on the rise on the whole.
Top Film One Year Ago: IT Chapter 2.
Top Film Ten Years Ago: The American.
Top Film 41 Years Ago: Alien
Top Three Films.
Christopher Nolan’s Tenet handily won the top spot, with 20 million dollars in its premier. While it doesn’t appear to be the universally acclaimed success with critics, it is drawing strong numbers from audience scores. Much like his last film, Inception, those who like it seem to love it with a passion, and those who don’t are mostly confused by its story. Either way, a solid recipe for repeat viewers.
The New Mutants mutated into second place, adding 3 million dollars to its overall haul of 11 million dollars. While a 56% percent drop is problematic, it is largely in line with other X-Men films.
Unhinged dropped a spot as well, down to third place with an additional 1.8 million dollars in sales.
The only other new film, the limited-release, faith-based My Brothers’ Crossing, hung on to take ninth place. It showed a rather listless 20 thousand dollars in sales. I guess the faithful are willing to get Covid in church, but not from a pandering C-list drama.
Top Ten Films.
- Tenet (20.2)
- The New Mutants (3.0)
- Unhinged (1.8)
- Bill & Ted Face the Music (.77)
- SpongeBob: Sponge on the Run (.34)
- The Personal History of David Copperfield (.32)
- Words on Bathroom Walls (.27)
- The Rental (.02)
- My Brothers’ Crossing (.02)
- Tesla (.001)