Singapore opening weekend box office for Tenet strong but not record-breaking

SINGAPORE – The highly anticipated science-fiction movie Tenet earned $763,765 in its opening weekend in Singapore, a figure that shows strong, though not record-breaking, audience interest in a film that is the forerunner for a slate of delayed major Hollywood releases.

The figure reflects takings across 130 screens, from Aug 26 to Aug 30.

Tenet’s box office take is less than that of South Korean zombie action movie Train To Busan: Peninsula, which picked up $962,000 in its opening weekend, from July 16 to July 19, days after the reopening of cinemas on July 13.

Movie halls had closed from March 27 to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

Tenet tops the weekend box office list, followed by superhero movie The New Mutants. The distributor of the latter film, The Walt Disney Company, has yet to reply to a Straits Times request for box office figures.

Bloomberg reported that Tenet was the biggest picture globally, taking in US$53.6 million (S$72.7 million) over the weekend across 41 international markets. It will not open until next week in the United States, where The New Mutants debuted at No. 1 with US$7 million in takings.

Cinema seating in Singapore is subject to social-distancing rules that have limited capacity to about 25 per cent. Another factor that might have restricted takings for Tenet is its length, which reduces the number of screenings that can be held each day. It clocks in at 150 minutes, while Busan is over 30 minutes shorter, at 116 minutes.

Tenet, from writer-director Christopher Nolan (space adventure Interstellar, 2014; heist film Inception, 2010), is the first major-budget Western film to land in Singapore in a season that has seen releases of blockbusters moved to later this year or 2021.

The action-thriller stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki in an adventure that takes place across opposing time streams.

Coming next are Disney drama Mulan (Sept 4) and superhero movie Wonder Woman 1984 (Oct 1).

Mr Ng Peng Hui, managing director at Tenet distributor Warner Bros Singapore, says that the movie exhibition business in Singapore needs a Hollywood crowd-puller at this time.

He says: “We are very happy to be back in the cinemas with such an encouraging box office figure for Tenet.

“What makes it all the more satisfying and moving are the positive responses we have received for the movie and the whole back-to-cinema experience.”

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