The disastrous debut of the spy thriller Warner Bros. “Tenet in theaters makes Hollywood studios hit the panic button.
“Tenet – a $ 200 million production by Christopher Nolan that has amassed less than $ 30 million in ticket sales since its release in US theaters on September 3 – gave Tinseltown a wake-up call, with studios wondering whether to publish or hold their latest blockbusters this year. them until the coronavirus crisis subsides.
Studios make decisions based on what’s going on with “Tenet,” said Eric Handler, analyst at MKM Partners. “What I think you’re going to see is more films are pushed back until we see the big markets reopen again.
Last week, Warner Bros. postponed Wonder Woman 1984, with Gal Gadot, to Christmas Day on October 2, and Universal has been pushing Candyman indefinitely next year from October 16. There’s also the buzz that Disney will delay the November 6 release. of his Marvel movie Black Widow, starring Scarlett Johansson, as well as the Pixar Soul adventure on November 20. Disney did not comment on the speculation.
“If ‘Black Widow’ moves, we really don’t have a big movie for quite a while,” Handler said. Theres the James Bond No Time to Die movie on Thanksgiving, then Dune [on Dec. 18] and Wonder Woman. We might have a couple of high profile movies, but in terms of depth, that’s it.
The analyst said that the decline in films creates a circular problem, in which theaters want customers to show up, but they won’t show up if there are no new films.
The reluctance to return to theaters is largely due to the unpredictable nature of the coronavirus pandemic, which has kept cinemas in the United States dark for five months.
But “Tenet, who predicted before the pandemic to generate around $ 850 million in ticket sales worldwide, had to at least bring the industry back to life. Instead, it arrived at the box office with a whimper, grossing $ 178 million internationally and $ 29.5 million in North America, bringing its current global box office total to 207 million. dollars, Box Office Mojo said.
Critics blamed the lukewarm results that only 60 percent, or 3,500 of North America’s 6,000 theaters, are open. The fact that major markets like New York and Los Angeles remain closed also adds to the sales problems.
Still, the Tenet debacle sent shockwaves through Hollywood. At a Bank of America investor conference last week, Sony Pictures Entertainment CEO Tony Vinciquerra rocked insiders with what looked like a thinly veiled reference to the flop.
What we don’t want to do is make the mistake of bringing a very, very expensive $ 200 million film to market unless we are sure the theaters are open and operating at significant capacity, a. he declared.
Comscore media analyst Paul Dergarabedian said Hollywood will have to be patient for the return of theatergoers, predicting 2021 to be an important year for the recovery.
The fact that cinemas are only doing business is a good sign, the analyst said. Right now I think it’s a win that people want to come back to. It is a daunting thing to go back in and to these places after six months.
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