The debut of ‘Tenset’ at the box office is a sign of a huge drop for American cinemas


Warner Bros. ‘ The new Christopher Nolan detective thriller has grossed $ 30 million domestically since opening two weeks ago in North America. Including two extremely short weekends where the film grossed $ 9.5 million at the box office and $ 6.7 million. (Warner Bros., like CNN, is owned by WarnerMedia.)

For Warner Bros., this news is not bad as “Tenet” has performed admirably overseas. Opening internationally at the end of August, the film has grossed over $ 205 million globally so far. However, for domestic theaters, the introduction of “Tenset” puts considerable pressure on an industry that needed a blockbuster to bring filmmakers back to the Cineplex.

With no other major films on the schedule until at least November, films in the US continue to be in decline.

Jeff Bock, a senior analyst at entertainment research firm Exhibitor Relations, said, “There’s no way out. The outlook for theaters over the next seven weeks is beyond bleak.” “The full summer of 2020 is going to be a terrible fall.”

Bock said that with no major films, the theater “basically left itself to booking library titles and alternative material.”

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“It won’t end well for chains or independent theaters, many of which will be running at a loss. As of November there are no major blockbusters – though they are not set in stone from afar – making the unfortunate option to close theaters Will. Again or limiting their hours of operation. ”

Other films in theaters such as “Unhinged” and “The New Mutants” were also not received by the audience, leading to a disappointing box office performance this past weekend. The domestic box office brought in just $ 15 million this weekend, a number that is “not enough to cover operating expenses”, according to IndieWire’s Tom Bruegmann.

“[Theaters] Employees and other operating costs have to be paid, as well as rent to landlords. Brueggemann wrote that he has a strong hand in rent negotiations when the theater closes, “Once open, they become owls, and they now face weeks of operation at a significant disadvantage.”

So is there any hope on the near horizon for theaters? BoxOffice.com chief analyst Sean Robbins believes that if significant markets like New York City and Los Angeles open up, the industry could get a lot of boost.

“The presence of those open markets certainly wouldn’t hurt,” Robbins said. “Combined, they contribute 10% to 15% of the domestic box office of a mainstream film. On the basis of the performance of” Tenset “as a whole, box office revenue alone in those markets is not immediately normal. Can be done. However, what they can do. Fosters the notion of reopening. ”

Robbins noted that theaters “are relying largely on word of mouth from suburban and urban areas to express the safety and availability of going back to theaters.”

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However, there is no promise that even if theaters are open in those cities, the audience would like to return.

“Opening NYC and LA will give a slight edge, but it is doubtful that it will heal the box office wound that COVID has inflicted,” he said.

What about streaming?

Then there is the option of streaming.

Following Disney’s decision to release “Mulan” on Disney +, studios may decide that releasing a film digitally is less risky than in theaters right now.

“There’s no way of streaming in North America right now,” Bock said. “This is not a solution that will be set in stone going forward, but it is the best solution for the reality of now.”

With streaming numbers placed close to the vest, it is difficult to quantify the effect that digital releases can have on the bottom line of a film, but Bock believes streaming can work in line with theaters, at least For the time.

“Studios need to offer other options right now,” he said. “In the rest of the world, studios may be able to get away with a traditional release, but domestically, we’re in a foul play, and reach potential consumers to deliver content to everyone in the safest and most efficient way possible Will be about. ” [premium video on demand]. Or a combination of PVOD and dramatics. ”

Nothing special coming out in theaters

Still, with no major releases for the week, the industry finds itself looking ahead to November when “No Time to Die”, the latest James Bond film, is set to open. After that, the much-awaited and often delayed “Wonder Woman 1984” highlights the holiday season over Christmas. There are two films to open in theaters with “Death on the Nile” from 20th-century studios at the end of October, and Sony Animation’s “Connected”, but those films are not at the level of franchise films opening in November and December .

“Black Widow,” Marvel Studios’ new film, was scheduled to open on November 6, but Variety reported on Tuesday that Disney may delay that film as well.
And even though any film would want to stop in theaters rather than head to digital and head to Mulan, it would be a tough battle to find an audience after months of cinematography and the epidemic still going on in the United States.

However, if theaters were going to mount any comeback, it could do worse than the movies starring James Bond and Wonder Woman.

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