'Tenet' Adds Just $3.4 Million as Theaters Face Long October Without Blockbusters

'Tenet' Adds Just $3.4 Million as Theaters Face Long October Without Blockbusters


Focus’ “Kajillionaire” and Sony’s “The Last Shift” enter theaters, but COVID-19 continues to drain the box office


“Tenet” (Warner Bros.)

Numbers for the domestic box office continue to languish as “Tenet” adds $3.4 million to bring its domestic total to $41.1 million after four weekends.

Overall, the Warner Bros. film added $19.2 million to bring its global total to $283 million as overseas markets begin to taper off after a month of solid numbers. “Tenet” should reach $300 million in the coming weeks, and while it’s a respectable number given the pandemic-damaged market, it’s still not the sort of performance that gives confidence to any studio considering releasing a tentpole blockbuster in the near future.

And without tentpoles, theaters are facing at least several weeks of immense struggle. In addition to “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Candyman” leaving their October release dates, Disney has pushed Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow” out of November to summer 2021, meaning that theaters will only have specialty releases for more than a month. While theaters in California and New York could reopen next month as infection rates remain low in those key markets, the lack of customer confidence and attractive titles may lead domestic numbers to drop even further in October.

Farther down the calendar, there’s still some threads of hope for theaters to cling to. While Disney moved much of its release slate with “Black Widow,” it has kept Pixar’s “Soul” on its late November release for now. Along with that animated film, the global theater industry is counting on MGM and Universal to keep the 007 film “No Time to Die” in November, though that will depend on overseas territories, particularly Europe, avoiding a second wave of COVID-19 infections.

Meanwhile, a pair of specialty films tried their luck in theaters this weekend. Focus Features released their Sundance acquisition “Kajillionaire” in 529 theaters, grossing $215,000 for a per theater average of $406. The distributor also re-released its Ruth Bader Ginsburg biopic “On the Basis of Sex” in honor of the late Supreme Court Justice, which grossed $55,000 from 829 theaters.

More to come…

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