Photo: Budrul Chukrut/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Christopher Nolan's new action film "Tenet" raked in $20.2 million over Labor Day weekend in the U.S. and nearly $150 million globally as it became the first major blockbuster to debut since the pandemic put the film industry on hold, Variety reports.

Why it matters: The early success of "Tenet" suggests people are still willing to make their way to the movie theater for a highly anticipated film in the midst of a pandemic, but expectations at the box office have been significantly lowered.

What they're saying: "There is literally no context in which to compare the results of a film opening during a pandemic with any other circumstance," Warner Bros. said in a statement. "We are in unprecedented territory, so any comparisons to the pre-COVID world would be inequitable and baseless.”

The state of play: 70% of U.S. movie theaters are currently open and operating at half-capacity in order to ensure social distancing is possible, according to AP. The film, which had its release delayed in the U.S. three times due to the coronavirus, debuted in 2,810 North American locations.

What to watch: "Tenet" will need to rake in a total of $500 million in order to break even, according to AP.

Go deeper

Sep 8, 2020 - World

Study: Hollywood casts more light-skinned actors for Chinese market

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

An academic study has found that since 2012, when the Chinese government began allowing more foreign films into the country, Hollywood movies have cast more light-skinned actors in starring roles.

Key takeaway: The researchers concluded U.S. film studios were casting to fulfill the aesthetic preferences of Chinese movie-goers, in a culture that places a premium on light skin — a phenomenon known as colorism.

TikTok's content-moderation time bomb

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

When the dust finally clears from the fight over TikTok, whoever winds up running the burgeoning short-video-sharing service is likely to face a world of trouble trying to manage speech on it.

Why it matters: Facebook’s story already shows us how much can go wrong when online platforms beloved by passionate young users turn into public squares.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
33 mins ago - Energy & Environment

Zooming in on China's new energy plan

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Major climate news arrived on Tuesday when Chinese President Xi Jinping said China would aim for "carbon neutrality" by 2060 and a CO2 emissions peak before 2030.

Why it matters: China is by far the world's largest greenhouse gas emitter. So its success or failure at reining in planet-warming gases affects everyone's future.

Get Axios AM in your inbox

Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

Please enter a valid email.

Subscription failed
Thank you for subscribing!