'Tenet'.

‘Tenet.’

Warner Bros’ Tenet ruled again in its second weekend while Disney’s The New Mutants opened meekly as the long, slow road to recovery for Australian cinemas continues.

The convoluted time-travel/spy thriller directed by Christopher Nolan rang up $1.6 million on a super-wide 748 screens, falling by 35 per cent, bringing the total to $6.25 million.

Starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki and Kenneth Branagh, the movie launched on 2,810 locations in the US, fetching $US20.2 million – a decent result considering cinemas are closed in Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York and several other major markets.

In US dollars, the international total topped $126 million including China’s $30 million, a record for Nolan in that territory, and, after their second weekends, the UK’s $13.1 million, France’s $10.7 million and Germany’s $8.7 million.

Numero reported the top 20 titles in Australia generated nearly $3.1 million, 15 per cent below the previous frame.

Exhibitors are pleased. “Given the circumstances, the Tenet hold for us is solid,” says Hayden Orpheum Picture Palace GM Alex Temesvari. “The key difference at the moment is the lack of other strong titles to also drive business.

“It probably wasn’t fair for Tenet to have the pressure of being the film to ‘save the industry,’ as no single film alone can do that, but it is definitely buying us some time.”

If the thriller’s final tally exceeds $15 million, Temesvari would rate that as a “pretty big win,” particularly given the Victorian lockdown, taking a 26 per cent chunk out of the market.

Majestic Cinemas CEO Kieren Dell said: “Tenet held pretty well and actually increased, even with fewer sessions, at a few of our sites, with lots of people saying they would come back and watch it a second time, so it will hopefully hold in coming weeks. With a long season, it should be able to at least get to the $15 million-$20 million range.”

Disney inherited the Josh Boone-directed The New Mutants, an X-Men spin-off, from 20th Century Fox. The sci-fi adventure featuring Anya Taylor Joy, Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton, Blu Hunt, Henry Zaga and Alice Braga was originally due for release in 2018 but was delayed amid reports of re-shoots and multiple cuts.

So the Australian debut of $492,000 on 258 screens was no surprise and it’s struggling in the US, the UK, Italy, Russia, Mexico and elsewhere.

“We never expected a lot from The New Mutants. It has been hanging around too long, which usually sends a message that something is wrong,” says Wallis Cinema’s senior adviser Bob Parr.

Universal Pictures’ Trolls World Tour continued to earn tidy sums in previews – $350,000 last weekend on 174 screens and $741,000 thus far – in the lead-up to its September 17 bow.

Rialto launched Fátima, a faith-based drama directed by Marco Pontecorvo, on 37 screens. Sans marketing, the saga of a 10-year-old shepherd and her two cousins who said they saw apparitions of the Blessed Virgin Mary in Portugal, circa 1917, didn’t have a prayer, making $37,000.

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