‘Tenet’ surges to $5 million at global IMAX theatres

IMAX today announced that Warner Bros. Pictures and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet surged to a better-than-expected start in IMAX, with an estimated $5 million in international box office from only 248 theaters worldwide.

IMAX theatres generated a per screen average of approximately $20K — about 7.5 times the estimated overall per screen average — even with an average 50% seating capacity limitation throughout the world. IMAX also delivered 9.4% of overall box office despite accounting for less than 1% of total screens.

Tenet opened in IMAX across all 38 available markets worldwide and continues its global rollout this week with at least 900 additional IMAX theatres across the United States, China and Russia.

“The strong international debut of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ is an emphatic statement that audiences around the world are ready to return to theatres where it is safe,” said Rich Gelfond, CEO of IMAX. “It is clear that people want to experience immersive entertainment like ‘Tenet’ in a communal, celebratory way beyond their living rooms, and this film is a jumpstart for the theatrical business with an exciting film slate ahead.”

Sellouts and Per Screen Averages

IMAX reported hundreds of sold-out shows across all markets and many of the company’s flagship locations were sold out all weekend, including the BFI in London, Krung Sri Paragon in Bangkok, CGV’s Yongsan in Seoul, Filmstaden Mall of Scandinavia in Stockholm, Cinemaxx in Copenhagen, VOX Red Sea Mall in Jeddah, Miramar in Taipei, and Toronto’s Cinesphere at Ontario Place.

Per screen averages reached pre-COVID blockbuster levels in many key markets, including Denmark ($73K), Norway ($64K), Saudi Arabia ($55K), Finland ($42K) and Sweden ($38K, despite a 50-person capacity limitation per show). 

IMAX Share of Box Office

Filmed using IMAX cameras, Tenet continues the successful collaboration between filmmaker Christopher Nolan and IMAX. IMAX’s 9.4% share of box office was comparable to international opening weekend’s for Nolan’s most recent films, Dunkirk (12.6%) and Interstellar (9.6%).

In fact, Tenet had a bigger opening than Dunkirk in 11 markets worldwide, and bigger than both Dunkirk and Interstellar in in key markets including France, Germany, Switzerland, Austria, Turkey, Taiwan and Malaysia. Tenet will play for an extended run of at least three weeks in IMAX in most markets.

UK and Canada

The UK was the top grossing IMAX market this weekend for “Tenet,” earning $900K — the second highest August opening weekend ever for IMAX in the UK behind 2016’s “Suicide Squad.”  Even with a 50% capacity limitation, the IMAX gross trailed the UK opening weekend of “Interstellar” by only 25%. Even Canada — which limited seating capacity to just 50 people per show — delivered an impressive $10K per screen average.

“‘Tenet’ is a reminder of the enduring power of the theatrical experience, and audiences worldwide turned out for the film in a big way,” continued Gelfond. “The performance of ‘Tenet’ in the UK and Canada despite significant capacity limitations is a positive sign for the film’s performance in the U.S., given the way these markets often align at the box office.”

Here are some of the character posters provided to Reel 360 from Warner Bros.

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Top Markets and Screens

IMAX’s top five international markets and screens for the weekend debut of Tenet include:

Top 5 IMAX Markets (not including Canada):

  1. UK
  2. South Korea
  3. France
  4. Taiwan
  5. Netherlands

Top 5 IMAX Screens:

  1. BFI, London
  2. CGV Yongsan, Seoul
  3. Cinemaxx, Copenhagen
  4. VOX Red Sea Mall, Jeddah
  5. Miramar Da-Zhi, Taipei

John David Washington is the new Protagonist in Christopher Nolan’s original sci-fi action spectacle Tenet. Armed with only one word—Tenet—and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. Not time travel. Inversion.

Tenet is the latest of Nolan’s trailblazing films also shot with IMAX cameras including Dunkirk, Interstellar, The Dark Knight and  The Dark Knight Rises.

Select IMAX theatres will be offering The IMAX Experience® featuring 15 perf/70mm film projection which combines the brightest, clearest images at almost 10 times the resolution of standard film projection, with powerful, laser-aligned digital sound and customized theatre geometry to create the world’s most immersive movie experience. 

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