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American movie theaters reopening from a six-month coronavirus lockdown are debuting the new spy thriller "Tenet," giving them a boost from a possible hit and a chance to newly gauge their business model.
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Warner Bros. introduced the movie in Europe, Canada and Korea last weekend, and “Tenet” landed in U.S. theaters — 75 percent of which are open — along with cinemas in China on Friday.
Some states, such as New York, have kept theaters closed, though more are coming online just in time for “Tenet.” New Jersey and some California cinemas reopened Friday.
The strong international launch of “Tenet” proved that many people are eager to come back. But in the U.S., with nearly 6 million cases and deaths surpassing 180,000, it's hard to tell whether viewers will err on the side of caution.
For viewers who prefer to limit risk by staying home, "Mulan," another highly anticipated film, is debuting on streaming service Disney+; it's available to subscribers for $30.
The $200 million remake of the classic animated film is another example of the way industries have adapted to the limitations forced upon them by COVID-19. “Mulan” had been projected to make around $750 million in theaters.
Despite mask mandates, social distancing requirements, and other safety precautions, "Tenet" raked in $53.6 million in 41 international territories last weekend.
The movie has virtually no competition in cinemas and will play continuously for not just weeks but months. It has the big screen to itself. At one Boston AMC, “Tenet” is playing 86 times from Friday to Sunday.
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The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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