Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Weekend Box Office: The War With Grandpa takes out Tenet

Tenet (Melinda Sue Gordon, Warner Bros.), The War With Grandpa (101 Studios)
Tenet (Melinda Sue Gordon, Warner Bros.), The War With Grandpa (101 Studios)
Image: The A.V.Club

Well that’s a wrap on the whole “keep Tenet in theaters for long enough and it’ll eventually make good money” scheme we’ve been writing about for over a month: After five weeks on top of the weekend box office with no competition in sight—especially as No Time To Die, Black Widow, Wonder Woman 1984, and possibly some other movies we’re forgetting about (it’s been a looong year) were delayed into late this year or 2021—Tenet has lost its throne. Christopher Nolan’s twisty time flick made $2.1 million this past weekend, bringing its total to a (relatively) impressive $48 million, but that’s down from last week and it played on 500 fewer theaters this past weekend. Considering the fact that the pandemic isn’t getting any better and more theaters in big markets probably won’t reopen any time soon (more theaters are actually closing), there’s no reason to think Tenet’s fortunes will improve enough to make up for the hit its taking here in relation to the way Nolan movies typically perform.

But Tenet, a movie many of us haven’t even been able to safely see yet, is old news. We’re sick of talking about it. The new hotness is Robert De Niro’s family comedy The War With Grandpa. Tim Hill’s film, which is about a sad old man who moves in with his family, takes over his grandson’s room, and then inadvertently incites a brutal prank war with the young kid, made $3.6 million from roughly the same number of theaters as Tenet—which one could interpret to mean that it’s playing to the same market where everyone has already seen Tenet, so the people buying tickets are people who are desperate to risk their lives and the lives of others by seeing something else. Maybe the real war with grandpa was unnecessarily going out in public, catching the coronavirus, and then giving it to your grandpa?

Anyway, the rest of the list is largely familiar: Last week’s underdog contender, a rerelease of Hocus Pocus (which is definitely on Disney+), came in third this week with $1.1 million. After that was The New Mutants, which made a little more than half of that at $685,000 (total of $21.9 million after seven weeks), and then Unhinged with $660,000 (total of $19.3 million). Then, somehow, we have the return of Coco for its 151st week on the charts, where it made $210,000. A drop in the bucket for its $209 million total, which is a nice glimpse into the past when movies actually made a lot of money because it was safe to go to them because our pathetic federal government hadn’t disastrously bungled its response to a pandemic yet. (Insert heavy sigh.)


You have to go way further down the list to see any other new titles, specifically Yellow Rose (which made $150,000) and Pray: The Story Of Patrick Peyton ($16,000). The former is a timely drama about living in ICE-occupied Texas, and the latter is a documentary about a famous priest. Also, as we say every week, it’s not necessarily safe to go to a theater just because they’re open, and the U.S. theater industry is in huge trouble if that aforementioned pathetic government doesn’t step in to help.

For more detailed analysis of this weekend’s box office numbers, head over to Box Office Mojo.

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