Let’s be honest, that’s a not the case at all. Any film releasing post-pandemic whilst still being in a pandemic, was always going to struggle. In the US especially as they have a President boasting about the performance of some states over others politically.
People are rightfully concerned about returning to the Cinema which is a given, but let’s not pull punches with the film selection either.
Tenet Is The Only Major Film To Throw It’s Hat In The Ring
Read more: Tenet IMAX Review
Warner Bros. Pictures is the only Studio to release a Blockbuster after the virus in US/Europe. As we reported earlier, Disney look to be delaying Black Widow and Soul, they pushed Mulan to a streaming service.
Warner Bros. and Christopher Nolan went ahead, after much pressure to release a film for Cinemas to show world-wide.
There’s only so much money re-runs of Jurassic Park, Back To The Future, and the Dark Knight that you can make in 2020.
Less than 100 a day
In the UK, we’ve seen screenings of Tenet regularly with less than 10 people, cinema’s which usually do a few thousand a week in admissions are lucky to reach a 100 most days with many days being much less.
Yet so far, Tenet with a budget of $250 million plus has taken as of 19th September, $207.5 million worldwide. That’s $16.4 million in the UK, $51 million in China, $29 million Stateside.
We can’t forget that NY/LA the two biggest markets in the US are currently closed. This has a massive impact on US sales. As they continue to struggle with the virus, taking almost 20% of the worldwide gross, should be celebrated.
Expectations are too high. Lack of Stars
The reality is, because of the budget size, marketing the expectation for Tenet is monumental to what it actually should be doing even in normal times. It has no tent-pole lead Actor.
John David Washington is a fantastic actor and I’d certainly recommend viewing the HBO series Ballers (also with Dwayne Johnson) and BlacKkKlansman (with Adam Driver) to see what he’s made of.
But he’s not a box office star, in fact, this probably should have been his vehicle to shine in another time.
The new Batman, Robert Pattison joins the ensemble cast.
Again, outside of Twilight, Harry Potter he’s yet to prove he can drag audiences into cinemas.
Now this isn’t a means to be disrespectful to the talent that’s in this film, they are fantastic actors in their own rights, but not historical money makers.
Tenet is missing a DiCaprio, a Tom Cruise
We have Academy Award nominee in Kenneth Branagh, Academy Award winner in Michael Caine.
But this film is missing a Leonardo DiCaprio, a Tom Cruise, someone whom you can stick the name or photo on the poster and people will just come.
In the age of Coronavirus, what’s needed to encourage audiences to attend when they feel safe, is a Blockbuster Star, or Character. Wonder Woman 1984, most likely would have had a better result than Tenet for that reason.
A lot of commentators have harked on that a Nolan film just delivers box office. Well, that’s not entirely true. A
rguably he’s one of the most successful directors in recent memory and creates amazing spectacles.
He was the first director to home in on a $1 billion dollar Superhero movie in The Dark Knight helped by his realistic gritty version of the caped crusader after years of campy frolics.
Nolan alone isn’t the only key to success
But Christian Bale also became a major draw for audiences for his performances, the great tragedy and passing of Heath Ledger along with his Academy Award-winning portrayal of the Joker was also a fundamental part of its success.
The Batman series, is perhaps the biggest superhero series of all time in the past century, so many iconic performances, and it is a worldwide draw.
Joker is also one of pop culture’s most well-known villains.
It’s remiss to not recognize these reasons that aid box office performance. And further evidence to this is 2019’s Joker that took $1 billion world-wide.
Tenet has no box office star,
Tenet isn’t a family film, Tenet’s marketing, trailers were so confusing to the general audience at times, even the cast were confused. It’s released in a period when many Cinemas are closed and struggling.
Critics and even Warner Bros. (who released Inception a week before to celebrate its 10th Anniversary) have effectively made unfair comparisons to Inception, and Inception’s performance commonplace.
There’s Only One Leonardo DiCaprio
As Forbes stated, ‘There’s only one Leonardo DiCaprio’ Inception had bonafide box office stars or stars on the rise along with fantastic marketing. DiCaprio came off a string of hits.
The Beach, Gangs of New York, The Aviator, Catch Me If You Can, The Departed, Blood Diamond.
He was a star cemented with Titanic in 1997. He’s won countless awards, recognized as one of the highest-paid actors year on year.
It also had Joseph Gordon-Levitt coming off the back of the fantastic 500 Days of Summer, Ellen Paige was the next big thing from X-Men, and a star turn in Juno along with the rising Tom Hardy and acclaimed Cillian Murphy.
We cannot expect the same success with the cast, marketing and pandemic, Warner’s and analysts are expecting far too much too soon.
Comparing Performance to Inception
For argument sakes let’s have a look at the UK data.
UK Cinemas currently at max capacity can only fill around 20-25% of a screen, for smaller cinemas that’ll be even less. Let’s compare against a title people keep comparing performance to Nolan’s Inception.
Currently, the UK has taken $16.4 million in ticket sale for Tenet.
Inception in 2010 grossed $56.6 million in the UK. That’s around $67.4 with inflation.
So we have a reduced capacity of 20-25% so should expect those numbers to match. 25% of $67.4 million is $16.85 million.
So, the UK is doing about right with the audience numbers to where it should be.
Tenet didn’t fail
It should be lauded with markets closed, to be taking over $200 million with legs to continue playing in the coming weeks.
It’s gone above and beyond in being launched worldwide, and the first major release to do so.
Bringing some of the audience back, which in turn has allowed Cinemas to whet the appetite for future releases down the line.
The real issue is a lack of ‘expectation management’.
One film can’t be expected to single-handed defend and hold up the entire industry.
It should be praised for releasing, praised for taking the box office that it has and pressure the other studios, to release big films.
Because the cinema chains and independent, staffing all need it, and the audiences need an escape.
What do you make of this feature?
Have you seen Tenet at the cinema?
If so, what did you make of it?
Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.