Tenet was never going to be just another movie release, given its position as the first major blockbuster to be released since the global pandemic closed cinemas worldwide.
After a couple of false starts and a move back to late August, Christopher Nolan's epic spy thriller is out in cinemas pretty much everywhere, so the (slightly) hyperbolic question now is: has Tenet saved cinemas?
It's obviously not as straightforward as that, but there has certainly been a closer eye on its box-office performance to see if cinemagoers are ready to return or if the signs point to potential further delays.
Tenet has been the cinematic canary in the coalmine for all upcoming major releases, including Wonder Woman 1984, Black Widow and No Time to Die, so has it made enough money to offer hope for the future?
We'll start with the facts and go from there.
As of Monday, September 7, Tenet has made $132.1 million internationally, including a $30 million debut in China. Adding in its $20.2 million US debut across Labor Day weekend, the movie stands at $152.3 million worldwide.
In those territories, it's only in the first or second week of release and it's still got openings in key international markets to come in Mexico and Japan on September 16 and 18 respectively.
So Tenet is only at the start of its box-office run, and with Mulan going to Disney+ in the likes of the UK and US, it will be the only blockbuster around for longer than expected after Wonder Woman 1984 was pushed back to Christmas from October 2.
It seems promising, especially when you consider most cinemas worldwide are still having to limit capacity due to social distancing measures.
But we know you're looking at those US figures and thinking, "Oof, that looks a bit low", and sure, it's about a third of would have been expected of Tenet in 'normal' times. These aren't normal times, though.
As Variety notes, Tenet's US opening saw it play on around 2,800 cinemas (a smaller release than it would have otherwise had) with only 65-70% of cinemas reopened, and cinemas in some of the US's biggest markets like New York City and Los Angeles remaining closed.
Even before you take into account that the open cinemas would have been operating at maximum 50% capacity, the fact that Tenet couldn't be released everywhere in the US would have significantly impacted its potential debut.
In those circumstances, a $20.2 million debut is likely in line with expectations and even if it's at the lower end of those expectations, then the movie's international performance has so far been better than expected.
Traditionally, blockbusters make the most of their money in the first three weekends of release, reflective of the fact that there would usually be more competition and a big release every few weeks.
Tenet doesn't have to face this competition and it means any comparisons to previous releases (as would usually be the case with box-office analysis) are invalid.
"We are in unprecedented territory, so any comparisons to the pre-COVID world would be inequitable and baseless," Warner Bros said in a statement, adding that it was always going to be "a marathon, not a sprint" as more cinemas reopen in the US in the coming weeks.
It's something echoed by Paul Dergarabedian, a senior media analyst with Comscore, who told AP News: "It's going to take a longer time to assess this. The win is just to have movies open. To me, that says a lot."
The fact that Warner Bros chose to push back Wonder Woman 1984 to Christmas from October 2 might suggest that Tenet hasn't done all that well. However, it's probably more to do with the studio trying to get the most out of Tenet's run.
If the rest of the US cinemas reopen in the coming weeks, the studio wouldn't have wanted two of its major 2020 releases competing against each other, certainly not this early on in this 'new world'.
Box-office expectations will be higher as superhero sequels tend to perform stronger than the original movie. Since Wonder Woman took in $822 million, it wouldn't be a stretch to say that the sequel could become the latest DC movie to join the billion-dollar club.
Whether such a milestone is achievable in this new world is unknown yet, especially as to achieve those numbers, you likely need fans to go on repeat viewings and we don't know if the current situation has affected such cinemagoing habits.
Tenet was never likely to be a billion-dollar hit, but if it can combine its strong international showing with an improved run in the US in the coming weeks, it stands a chance at crossing $500 million.
And given everything that's gone on, that would be no minor achievement.
Tenet is out now in cinemas.
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