‘Tenet’ Opens to $53 Million at International Box Office, Exceeds Low Expectations

     August 31, 2020


[Editor’s note: Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we strongly encourage individuals to check with the recommendations of public health officials and CDC safety guidelines before seeing a movie in a theater.]

After numerous release date delays, Tenet has finally opened in international theaters. Christopher Nolan‘s latest Warner Bros. epic starring John David Washington and Robert Pattinson has exceeded expectations, blowing by the $40 million international opening box office estimates made ahead of its release.

Per Warner Bros. Sunday report, Tenet earned $53 million at the international box office over the course of five days beginning with its August 26 release. The movie opened in 41 international markets, including Canada, and was shown on 20,000 screens total. Warner Bros. also reports 32 markets in both Europe/Middle East and Africa accounts for $37 million of its international gross with Tenet showing on 13,146 screens. Even more stunning, the Nolan epic opened at number one in every international market. The top-earning international markets are (in order): the United Kingdom ($7.1M), France ($6.7M), Korea ($5.1M), and Germany ($4.2M).

Warner Bros. Pictures chairman Toby Emmerich released a statement on Tenet‘s success at the international box office to accompany the numbers. He commented,


Image via Warner Bros.

“We are off to a fantastic start internationally and couldn’t be more pleased. Christopher Nolan has once again delivered an event worthy motion picture that demands to be seen on the big screen, and we are thrilled that audiences across the globe are getting the opportunity to see Tenet. Thank you to our exhibition partners for their tireless efforts in reopening their cinemas in a safe and socially-distanced way. Given the unprecedented circumstances of this global release we know we’re running a marathon, not a sprint, and look forward to long playability for this film globally for many weeks to come.”

Tenet‘s international box office success upon opening comes after numerous release date delays. Warner Bros. made the decision in late July to send Tenet to overseas markets before a U.S. release. This was due, in part, to the ongoing concerns over whether movie theaters would be open and, as an extension of this concern, over the installation of COVID-19 health and safety guidelines at those theaters.


Image via Warner Bros.

As the domestic box office slowly churns back to life, Tenet‘s Labor Day weekend release could serve as the jolt of life it needs. The international box office numbers certainly offer hope to those with a keen interest in the U.S. box office getting back on its feet ASAP. But it’s also worth noting numerous countries overseas have done a better job than the U.S. at handling the global pandemic, ostensibly instilling better trust in the public that it’s safe to return to theaters. Here in the U.S., that might not be the case. At any rate, we’ll have answers in a few days on whether domestic moviegoing interest in Tenet is as high as it was overseas last weekend. Stay tuned.

Tenet early access screenings in U.S. theaters begin on August 31. Tenet will be released on September 3. Please read Collider’s official statement on covering theatrically-released movies during the global COVID-19 pandemic. For more, you can read our latest domestic box office coverage and our review of Tenet.

Allie Gemmill is the Weekend Contributing Editor for Collider. You can follow them on Twitter @_matineeidle.

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