Well, now we know how bad it is. When they were shooting for $40 million for Tenet, itself a low-ball target adjusted down for COVID impacts, and get $20 million then it’s bad news for the studio. The movie that was a test case for how movies could do on release during a pandemic tested that case alright! And the case was not good. Remember, this was Labor Day weekend too. Traditionally a big weekend for movies.

Yes, LA and New York remained closed. Even where they are open though, our Outposters are reporting tiny audiences in their showings of Tenet. Around 5 people per screen. Now Variety and Deadline are reporting that the numbers may, in fact, be even worse than anyone imagined.

Warner Bros. are reportedly refusing to share any more box office details than the film’s first opening weekend gross and stated that the $20 million figure was given:

“…as a courtesy…”

The two outlets line up around the fact that this figure actually includes all previews that kicked off several days before the release. So it is a week’s result. Not the opening weekend. The actual four-day opening weekend figure for Tenet? Over a holiday weekend, remember. $12 million. Uh-oh!

Investor and analyst calls will be a bloodbath this year. New release strategies will be demanded by the people who actually own the studios, the shareholders. That will be the driver behind any shift to PVOD. With these tiny box-office figures out there, will any studio risk a $200 million tentpole release to theaters right now? Unlikely.