Warner Bros. refuses to share Tenet box office data, angers rival studios

By: Reuters | Los Angeles |

September 14, 2020 11:24:37 am

As Tenet continues into its second weekend in US theaters, there has nonetheless been a dearth of data concerning box office knowledge. (Photo:

Since Tenet premiered, Warner Bros., the studio behind the movie, has parceled out fastidiously chosen breadcrumbs of information to reporters and rival studios. Traditionally, studios share box office data each day. That’s not the case with Tenet.

Though it began taking part in in US theaters on September 3, Warner Bros. waited till September 6 to formally announce opening weekend grosses. Tenet earned 20 million {dollars} over the lengthy weekend, a middling consequence for a movie of its dimension.

Industry observers presumed that Warner Bros. wished preliminary box office receipts for Tenet to look as sturdy as doable — and ready till Sunday for the complete weekend determine would make earnings sound stronger than they may if the studio had dribbled out day by day numbers.

The studio, nevertheless, was involved that reporters and rivals would misread or unfairly analyze the outcomes — main to headlines that will incorrectly label Tenet’s debut as a flop. Warner Bros. urged journalists to present context by noting that ticket gross sales would routinely be decrease than regular given the truth that theaters in main markets like New York and Los Angeles aren’t open and cinemas which have reopened have performed so at lowered capability. With these caveats in thoughts, Warner Bros. was by no means banking on a splashy opening weekend and as an alternative hoped Tenet would play in theaters for months with out a lot in the best way of competitors.

Box office reviews are probably the most public-facing actions that studios endure. Successful opening weekend permits them to trumpet the excellent news in ads and thru inside communications. But there’s a draw back to these bragging rights. It additionally forces studios to personal their errors — a miss is a miss, in any case. With streaming rivals equivalent to Netflix and Amazon retaining a decent grip on the variety of occasions movies are watched and refusing to reveal box office knowledge about their movies, extra conventional studios have grown annoyed. Some studio executives have even publicly carped in regards to the want to report grosses, suggesting they’d slightly forgo the method all collectively.

Though it’s uncommon for a serious studio like Warner Bros. to protect grosses for maybe the buzziest film of the 12 months, different Hollywood gamers had given the corporate a cross for opening weekend as a result of Tenet was the primary important film to debut since coronavirus struck. Rival studios are carefully watching the Nolan movie as a take a look at to see if individuals would go to the flicks throughout the pandemic. The outcomes, in impact, would assist Hollywood resolve whether or not or not to proceed releasing big-budgeted tentpoles in the midst of a worldwide well being disaster.

Numerous insiders at rival studios emphasised that they need Warner Bros. and Tenet to succeed, citing the aphorism that rising tides carry all boats. But given the significance of the movie show enterprise, Hollywood executives at different studios have privately complained in regards to the lack of transparency.

In regular occasions, executives which can be concerned in distributing movies get entry to grosses by the hour. Studios work with the analysis firm Rentrak and its mum or dad company Comscore to report day by day numbers and publish box office charts every weekend which can be extensively distributed throughout the leisure trade. Studios pay some huge cash to get down-to-the-minute updates, with the settlement that rivals have entry to data from different distributors.

According to people acquainted with the state of affairs, Rentrak had to get permission from main studio heads earlier than concealing day by day numbers for Tenet. Though executives have been initially reluctant, they finally agreed for the primary weekend as a courtesy, believing that Warner Bros. was taking a daring wager in testing the waters and wanted their help.

But as Tenet continues into its second weekend in US theaters, there has nonetheless been a dearth of data concerning box office knowledge. The studio has but to report day by day figures, and is anticipated to wait till this Sunday to reveal ticket gross sales.

Warner Bros. and Comscore declined to touch upon this report. However, studio sources argue they aren’t obligated to share numbers with anybody else and stress that there’s no precedent for releasing a film in a pandemic. Comparing Tenet to another film, one supply stated, is “apples and kumquats.” By distributing numbers within the conventional vogue, anybody on the surface might leap to conclusions and categorize Tenet has a monetary catastrophe. They argue that there’s no distinction between reporting numbers on Friday afternoon or Sunday morning.

Sources at different studios identified that some cinema homeowners, significantly these with drive-in areas, don’t report weekend earnings to studios till Sunday. While usually that wouldn’t make a notable dent in a remaining tally, drive-ins have turn into standard throughout the pandemic.

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Adding to anxieties for Hollywood is the priority that different studios may make comparable agreements to conceal grosses for upcoming releases — pushing box office revenues behind a curtain of inscrutability. Sony Pictures is already following go well with, ready till the top of this weekend to share gross sales for its romantic comedy The Broken Hearts Gallery.

That might sign that Warner Bros. resolution to withhold data and tightly management its box office reporting might now not be the exception to the rule. It might sign a brand new precedent for media corporations at all times keen to keep away from scrutiny.

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