‘Tenet’ Tops $2M In Early Korea Play; ‘The Eight Hundred’ Crosses New China Milestone – International Box Office

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Christopher Nolan’s Tenet has begun its offshore rollout, and while Warner Bros is keeping a tight lid on grosses until fully reporting Sunday, some international box office information is available on the highly-anticipated title.

In Korea, one of the key plays on Tenet, the Wednesday opening day was a little over $827K from 2,228 screens. The John David Washington/Robert Pattinson/Elizabeth Debicki-starrer dominated the market at a 79% share according to Kobiz. Thursday added another $596K on 2,179 for a 28% drop which is about the average Wednesday-Thursday decrease for major recent releases, and the numbers should rise again on Friday. The cume through two days is $1.42M. Factoring in previews that took place last weekend, the total is $2.14M so far, portending a debut around $6M-$7M (including previews) if it follows the trend of big recent titles — and if the market situation remains stable.

The daily per-screen averages have been relatively small. However, as we noted in the international box office preview earlier this week, Korea is facing a surge of coronavirus cases and recently tightened social distancing guidelines in Seoul to limit gatherings.

Today, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun evoked the possibility of moving to Level 3. Should that come to pass, cinemas would be shuttered. Per Yonhap, Chung said, “The government has made efforts to slow down the pace of the pandemic, but we haven’t had much improvement. Some call for raising the level, while others want a wait-and-see stance, citing insufficient preparation and the economic impact.”

Essentially, Korea is a wait-and-see market that, without the recent cluster outbreaks, might have seen Tenet do upwards of $15M on opening weekend.

Other markets now having lauched Tenet through Thursday include the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Poland, Australia, Netherlands, Taiwan and more. It’s understood these are all No. 1 bows and the results are encouraging.

Meanwhile, in China, The Eight Hundred crossed $200M today. It’s at $207.5M (RMB 1.43B) through Thursday and leads pre-sales for the coming days. Maoyan is predicting an RMB 3.16B ($459M) finish. The IMAX portion of The Eight Hundred through Thursday is about $13M. On Tuesday, IMAX had its biggest day of the year so far in China with $2.7M from 647 screens.

The Eight Hundred is currently followed by Love You Forever, which on Tuesday — Chinese Valentine’s Day — set a new single-day 2020 record of RMB 277M ($40.2M). The current cume on that picture is RMB 349M ($50.6M).

Nolan’s Inception enters China tomorrow in its 10th anniversary edition, further whetting the appetite for Tenet which bows next Friday, September 4. Per Maoyan, Tenet leads pre-sales for that day and across next weekend.

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