Warner Bros. Hiding Tenet Box Office Numbers From Other Studios

With Tenet now passing the $200 million mark globally, it’s important to note that distributor Warner Bros. hasn’t been as regularly forthcoming with box office data for the film’s domestic release as they would’ve been had the film not been released during a pandemic. Indeed, Warners has so far been playing the numbers game for Tenet much differently than it has for past films — and it’s been noticed by rival studios and the media.Last weekend, Tenet made $20.2 million in its U.S. box office debut over Labor Day weekend, but Warner Bros. is still shielding Tenet’s box office hourly figures from rival studios in Comscore – which is the “data crossways between exhibitors and distributors.”

Along with Sony, which isn’t releasing the figures for new release The Broken Hearts Gallery, Warner Bros.’ “blackout” is now in its second weekend, and according to Deadline it’s due to the studio “knowing that [Tenet’s] box office wouldn’t be robust due to the pandemic” and wanting “to control their own narrative in the press on how the Christopher Nolan film was doing.”

Essentially, the studio doesn’t want the press to report that the low numbers signal the death of mainstream distribution in favor of a streaming model. Especially with theaters in “coastal cities like San Francisco, New York and Los Angeles closed, which is where Nolan’s movies play.”

The downside to this is that “not having access to box office hourlies prevents distribution executives from doing their job and providing their filmmakers and top executives with the health or lack thereof in the marketplace.” Basically, “having access to drill-down theatrical hourlies helps immensely; it truly helps the industry overall.”

87 Images From Christopher Nolan’s Tenet – Official Trailer 2 (2020)

Critics have said that Tenet is a thrilling spectacle despite being cold and confusing.

Our own review of Tenet said the film is “a thrilling addition to the Christopher Nolan canon, but is slightly held back by a sense of over-familiarity.”

Matt Fowler is a writer for IGN and a member of the Television Critics Association. Follow him on Twitter at @TheMattFowler and Facebook at Facebook.com/MattBFowler.


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