Comscore Sees “Significant Increase in Consumer Confidence” with Moviegoing Experience

As the Labor Day weekend marked a critical test for the resumption of U.S. theatrical releases amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, media measurement firm Comscore has confirmed that Warner Bros.’ “Tenet” is continuing what it calls a “successful run” in theaters with a solid debut this past holiday weekend in North America.

This builds on an international opening a week ago that has raised the fortunes of the latest film from auteur Christopher Nolan to nearly $150 million in multiplexes worldwide.

Despite only 65 percent of the domestic theatrical marketplace being open, and with 25 – 45 percent limits on auditorium capacity, “Tenet” brought in more than $20 million dollars in the U.S. and Canada.

The film continues to play strongly internationally with the film grossing $30 million in China and capturing over 50% of the market share in a number of other foreign territories.

Others See a “Tepid” Opening for “Tenet”

However, there are other points of view. Reporting in The Ringer, Miles Surrey said that the film’s $20 million N. American gross over Labor Day weekend was, “…the kind of outcome that, in normal times, would be seen as a massively disappointing opening for such a popular filmmaker”.

Surrey cited Nolan’s previous effort, “Dunkirk”, which did more than $50 million in domestic business in its first weekend.

Still, as a litmus test for the industry going forward, “Tenet” is at least a mixed bag. As Comscore points out, just 65 percent of the domestic theatrical marketplace was open over Labor Day weekend.

Taking Nolan’s $50 million open for “Dunkirk” as a high-water mark for success, and given that much fewer theaters were open this Labor Day weekend, is it really reasonable to be disappointed by “Tenet’s” $20 million opening?

We’ll fall on the side of those who are amazed that people took the risk and went to a theater at all. On a side note, is it possible that the COVID crisis might even bring back the drive-in theater? Nothing says, “social distance” quite like staying in your car to watch a movie.

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