'Tenet' Enters Week 2; 'Mulan' Sees China Release
With no major new releases, Tenet is once again set to be the weekend’s biggest box office story. The film held strong in Germany, with a 24% drop, and had a steeper drop in the UK and in France, at 59.9% and 57% respectively. Internationally, the film’s largest new territory is in Hong Kong, but seeing what happens domestically is one of the keys to determining whether Tenet’s release strategy will pay off.

Some good news for Tenet is that theaters have gotten the green light to reopen in some additional California counties, the largest being Orange County, albeit with 25% capacity and 100-person caps. While the state’s key markets of Los Angeles and San Francisco remain closed, the new rules open theaters for millions of people. This staggered opening could give the film longer legs than one might expect from a traditional release, with the country’s top markets still yet to reopen.

The only new domestic wide release this week is Sony’s The Broken Hearts Gallery. Opening at 2,204 locations and currently at 81% from critics on Rotten Tomatoes, this independently produced romantic comedy with Dacre Montgomery presents some feel-good counterprogramming to the genre-heavy fare that has been leading the box office since theaters reopened. The film could present an alternative model for studios, focusing on smaller films, letting them grow through word of mouth, and having them benefit from the lack of competition.

The most notable limited release is the documentary Jimmy Carter: Rock & Roll President, which opened Wednesday. The Greenwich Entertainment release, which is currently at 100% on Rotten Tomatoes from limited reviews, details President Carter’s relationship with musicians and the influence they had on him.

On the international front, the most important opening is Mulan’s China release, the largest territory for the film after foregoing theaters and going straight to Disney Plus in most key territories, including the US. The film opened number one in five markets last weekend, including Thailand, Singapore, and Taiwan. A strong showing in China would help make up for the lack of a theatrical release in most of the world.

The film’s Chinese cast, setting, and subject matter could put it closer to Disney’s remakes of The Lion King, which grossed $120.4 million in China, and The Jungle Book, which grossed $150.4 million, than the underwhelming grosses of Beauty and the Beast ($85.8 million) and Aladdin ($53.5 million). However, Mulan lacks the novelty factor that other Hollywood blockbusters have, as China produces its own big budget historical spectacles, so it remains to be seen if Chinese audiences will take to the film.