Hey, remember Tenet? The movie that was going to save movies until it didn’t? Well, it’s still playing, which means it’s still taking in box office dollars, which means I am bound by law to report them. I have no choice in the matter, and neither do you. You must read this or you’ll be in big, big trouble. Christopher Nolan‘s latest cerebral action-thriller has just now crossed the $300 million mark globally, which isn’t bad, until you remember that the flick needs to hit at least $800 million to break even.
Tenet is pretty much the only (big) game in town at this point, which means it’s the only movie with frequent, up-to-date box office reports. Deadline is reporting that the new Christopher Nolan movie added $11.5 million to its international box office haul over the weekend, bringing the international total to $307 million. That’s not bad by any means, but a previous report indicated that the picture would need to make $800 million to just break even.
So what now? Well, over at Business Insider, Paul Dergarabedian, the Comscore senior media analyst, suggests that the time has come for Warner Bros. to give in and drop Tenet on PVOD:
“What WB did was show complete solidarity with the movie industry and that was important. I can’t speak for Warner Bros., but I imagine they are looking at the marketplace [for digital release]. At this point, WB has more than accomplished what it needed to do. It’s been five weeks. That’s shorter than a traditional window but this isn’t a traditional time.”
Jeff Bock, Exhibitor Relations’ senior media analyst, concurred, adding: “With the number of theaters in operation dwindling by the week, this has to be a no-brainer.” The PVOD release, if it happens, would be to help the film here in the US, as Warner Bros. continues to roll it out overseas – there are plans to open Tenet in Bolivia, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua this week alone, with more places to follow.
At this point, it’s hard to see how Tenet sticks around in US theaters. Regal theaters are closing in the US for the time being, and while other US theater chains have yet to make similar announcements, the future for the industry looks rather dire at the moment. Traditionally, the theater-to-VOD/DVD/Blu-ray release window is 90 days, but in the midst of the pandemic, things have changed. Universal, for instance, struck a deal with AMC to agree to a 17-day release window between theatrical and VOD, and there are reports that Warner Bros. has negotiated a similar deal, although the studio has yet to confirm.
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