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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

Regal Cinemas to temporarily close all 663 of its theaters in the U.S. and U.K.

Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images

British movie exhibitor Cineworld, the parent company to Regal Cinemas, said on Monday that it would temporarily close all 663 of its movie theaters in the United States and the U.K.

Why it matters: Theater chains have struggled to survive the economic fallout of the coronavirus. Some analysts have argued that the pandemic could become the death knell to the theater industry.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

  1. Politics: Fauci says he accepted Biden's offer to be chief medical adviser "on the spot" — The recovery needs rocket fuel.
  2. Economy: U.S. economy adds 245,000 jobs in November as recovery slows — America's hidden depression: K-shaped recovery threatens Biden administration.
  3. Education: Devos extends federal student loan relief to Jan. 31
  4. States: New Mexico to allow hospitals to ration coronavirus medical care
  5. Vaccine: What vaccine trials still need to do.
  6. World: UN warns "2021 is literally going to be catastrophic"
  7. 🎧 Podcast: Former FDA chief Rob Califf on the vaccine approval process.
2 hours ago - Health

A safe, sane survival guide

Photo: Luka Dakskobler/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

We all know, it’s getting worse.

Reality check: Here are a few things every one of us can do to stay safe and sane in coming months: