Global exhibitors were waiting for a first multi-market blockbuster to release and bring with it signs that the industry could further recover. Last weekend they got the title, Christopher Nolan’s TENET, and it certainly delivered. The film’s $53.6 million opening weekend was more than anyone could have predicted, but the Warner Bros’ hit also drove multiple markets to hit new stages on our Blueprint To Recovery.

The first successes came early, with both UK/Ireland (see Growth Trackers below) and Italy achieving their first box office target (Stage 2) on Day 1 of TENET’s release (Aug. 26). Stage 2 is achieving a base-level single-day box office equivalent to the lowest grossing day of the past two years. UK/Ireland required a single-day box office of £885k to hit the goal; Italy required €250k. Both markets easily sailed past the targets, with TENET alone delivering more than the required goal. The UK market repeated it each of the following five days; Italy has done so every day since.

But Italy wasn’t done. The market has gone on to achieve its Stage 3 (the full-week equivalent of Stage 2), smashing its target of €2.66 million. And it wasn’t alone. France (target: 1.62m admissions), Germany (target: €5.78m) and Austria (target: €1.12m) also joined the Stage 3 club this week, driven largely by TENET.

Only the Netherlands had previously achieved Stage 3 (for week commencing July 23) within the EMEA markets that we track. The market repeated at Stage 3 levels each of the past two weeks, including the TENET-launch week.

With multiple European markets now reaching Stage 3, the Asia Pacific region (excluding China) looked to step up a level! The region had already seen Japan, South Korea and Taiwan achieve Stage 3. Japan was the first to do so. South Korea had previously come close to Stage 4 before a surge in virus cases saw capacity restrictions re-imposed in Seoul, resulting in box office dropping back. Japan has yet to receive TENET (it is scheduled to open there Sept. 18) so it was up to Taiwan to take things to the next level. While the current box office week was not quite over in Taiwan at time of writing there was no question that it would hit the Stage 4 target (a box office week equivalent to the median week of the past two years).

The TENET-effect was also felt more broadly than simply in terms of targets hit, with some markets seeing an over-spill to other titles. Germany saw its top five holdovers all rise in business week-on-week despite the competition. In Spain local family comedy FATHER THERE IS ONLY ONE 2 had reigned for four weeks prior to TENET’s launch, but despite (expectedly) slipping into second place the film actually saw weekend business go up slightly week-on-week. These broader market successes suggest the driver of a major title can bring much more than success for that title.

However, it wasn’t just TENET delivering the goods. China, which became the first global market to achieve all 5 stages of its Blueprint To Recovery in the August 21 play-week, saw war epic THE EIGHT HUNDRED retain the #1 position on the global box office chart with a weekend in excess of $70 million. Combining with the openings of local romantic fantasy LOVE YOU FOREVER; the re-release of Christopher Nolan’s INCEPTION; and the debut of Greta Gerwig’s LITTLE WOMEN the market has delivered another Stage 4-level play-week. TENET lands in China this weekend.

There was also local success in Russia, where local sci-fi film COSMOBALL opened #1 and combined with strong holds for Gerard Butler vehicle GREENLAND and Korean hit PENINSULA to get the Eastern European major to hit its Stage 2 target. Russia easily surpassed the goal (target: ruble 31.9m) on Saturday (Aug. 29 – see Growth Trackers below), repeating it Sunday. Russia also opens TENET this weekend.

Growth Trackers for the markets hitting Stages 3 and 4 in the latest play-week will feature in our Road To Recovery reports next week. Don’t forget to sign up for our free trial, now extended through the end of September, to track these and further signs of growth and recovery.