Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s long-awaited summer blockbuster, has just scored the largest opening weekend in Saudi Arabian cinemas.
The film, a time-bending spy thriller starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson and Elizabeth Debicki has been touted as the savior of cinema, and is the first big studio movie to be released in the wake of the coronavirus. Well, in Saudi Arabia at least, it seems to have worked.
Over the course of its opening weekend, Tenet took $53 m in overseas markets, more than previous Nolan films, including his smash hit Batman movie, The Dark Knight. Of that $53m, Europe/ Middle East and Africa accounted for $37m where the movie came in at number one in all markets.
Saudi Arabia accounted for $55K in ticket sales over the course of the opening, making it the biggest release in KSI since the ban on cinema was lifted in 2018 and signaling that despite the virus, people are willing to return to the cinema.
After the ban was lifted, big cinema chains rushed to open theatres in Saudi Arabia. Within a year there were over 100 screens and last year it was reported that $35bn was to be invested in Saudi cinemas over the next five years, bringing the total number of screens to 2,500.
Other delayed releases, including the new Bond movie, No Time To Die and Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman 84 will no doubt be looking at these results happily.
Finally, some good news.