‘Tenet’ narrowly beats out a re-release of 1993’s Halloween comedy ‘Hocus Pocus’ for the top spot, but still passes $300 million globally
With the calendar turning the page to October, Halloween appeared to arrive early as things got even stranger and spookier at the domestic box office. Case in point: Christopher Nolan’s big-budget tentpole, Tenet, narrowly edged out the re-release of Hocus Pocus, a Bette Midler comedy that wasn’t exactly a smash hit when it first hit theaters 27 years ago.

Going into the weekend, Warner Bros.’ Tenet seemed to have the field to itself. But the battle for the title of the No. 1 film in North America wound up being much tighter than expected. Still, Nolan’s pricey thriller headed off the competition and landed in first place, pulling in $2.7 million at home in its fifth week while dropping another 20.6%. The PG-13 epic managed a $991 per-screen average in 2,722 theaters, bringing its domestic box-office total to $45.1 million.

Yet, once again, it was a night-and-day story for Tenet overseas, where the brain-teaser starring John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Kenneth Branagh, and Elizabeth Debicki continued to be buoyed by international ticket-buyers who pushed the movie’s non-domestic total to $262 million, bringing its cumulative worldwide haul to $307.1 million.

Meanwhile, another batch of highly-anticipated major-studio releases pushed their debuts back in order to steer clear of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic that is impacting domestic theater openings. MGM and Universal rocked the exhibition business by announcing that their upcoming James Bond installment, No Time to Die, would move from November 20 to April 2, 2021, prompting Universal to bump its Fast & Furious sequel, F9, from April 2, 2021 to May 28, 2021 to get out of 007’s way. The lack of a new Bond film on the near horizon also reportedly is driving Cineworld to consider closing its UK theaters as well as its Regal Cinemas in the US.

Finishing in the runner-up slot was Disney’s re-release of 1993’s Halloween-flavored comedy Hocus Pocus. The Bette Midler film earned $39.5 million in its initial run 27 years ago and has since turned into an unexpected seasonal staple. Nonetheless, it brought in $1.9 million over the weekend. The film rolled out in 2,570 theaters and earned a $749 per-screen average, a robust number for a film that’s easily available via streaming services.

In third place was Disney's The New Mutants. In its sixth week, the PG-13-rated X-Men spin-off brought in an additional $1 million in the US, dropping 14.7% from the previous frame. The New Mutants is playing in 2,154 theaters and had a $464 per-screen average. Its domestic total now stands at $20.9 million. To date, the film has added $21 million overseas, bringing its worldwide total to $41.9 million.

In fourth place was Solstice Studios’ Unhinged with $870,000. In its eighth week of release, the R-rated road-rage thriller starring Russell Crowe played in 2,023 theaters and had a $430 per-screen average, dropping off 10.1%. The film has grossed an impressive $18.4 million domestically and $14.6 million overseas, bringing its global cumulative box office to $33 million.

Rounding out the Top Five was Cloudburst Entertainment’sInfidel, which earned $455,000 in its third weekend. The R-rated espionage thriller starring Jim Caviezel fell off 40.2% and had a $253 per-screen average in 1,792 theaters. Its domestic total stands at $3.4 million and it has not yet opened internationally.

Elsewhere, a duo of new indie debuts elbowed their way into the Top 10: Neon’s Brandon Cronenberg-directed, body-horror thriller Possessor Uncut bowed in seventh place with $227,500 in 320 theaters (a $710 per-screen average); Bleecker Street’s sci-fi comedy Save Yourselves! opened in ninth place with $141,631 in 388 theaters (a $365 per-screen average).