Over the weekend, while Mulan struggled to justify its existence in the Chinese market, a report came out that revealed Warner Bros. is being a little cagey about how much money Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was (or was not) making at the U.S. box office. Apparently, the studio has decided to break from tradition by not sharing daily earnings for the film out of concern that the numbers will be unfairly misinterpreted by the media and by its competitors as being worse than they actually are. In other words, Warner Bros. doesn’t want anyone to think that the big expensive movie it insisted on releasing in theaters during a global pandemic isn’t doing so well, because the movie was released during a global pandemic so it obviously won’t be doing super well. Which… yeah, obviously.
Warner Bros.’ plan is to just keep Tenet in theaters for as long as possible, so instead of making its entire haul in a couple of weeks like a normal movie, it will consistently make a small amount of money every week for months as more and more theaters around the country reopen. It’s actually not a terrible plan, even if it does hinge on people going to movie theaters at a time when they should not be doing that, since it wisely takes advantage of the fact that there isn’t a whole lot else to see in theaters right now. That (finally) brings us to this weekend’s box office numbers, which—get this—look a hell of a lot like last week’s numbers.
Tenet’s on top, followed by The New Mutants, followed by Unhinged, with those getting $6.7 million, $2 million, and $1.5 million (respectively). Those are followed by the only newcomer this week, the Selena Gomez-produced Broken Hearts Gallery, which pulled in $855,000. The rest of the contenders didn’t even crack $300,000, but they include Bill & Ted Face The Music, Words On Bathroom Walls, The Personal History Of David Copperfield, and The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge On The Run. This is overall a big dip from last week, when Tenet made $20 million, but this is Warner Bros. “slow and steady” plan in action. Nobody’s going to be making actual big money, but at least Tenet is technically making the biggest money. That’s what counts (for Warner Bros.).
For a more detailed analysis of this weekend’s box office results, head over to Box Office Mojo.