Against all odds, Tenet is bringing moviegoers back to theaters in the middle of a global pandemic. Christopher Nolan's latest mind-bending blockbuster racked up $146 million worldwide after opening in China this weekend, a remarkable feat as movie theaters begin to come back to life amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The total comes after Tenet finally arrived on U.S. shores this week after debuting in overseas markets last month, becoming the first Hollywood tentpole to open in theaters since the global health crisis struck the country. The film surpassed box-office expectations for its first weekend of international release, taking in over $53 million in 41 markets. Domestically, it has taken in $20.2 million so far over Labor Day weekend.

Credit: Melinda Sue Gordon/Warner Bros.

Tenet may have a bit of an uphill battle in the U.S., where active coronavirus cases are still far ahead of most other countries. Though many theaters have reopened in recent weeks, cinemas in major markets such as New York and Los Angeles remain closed. With a reported production budget of $200-225 million, experts estimate the film will have to gross at least $400 million to break even. However, with most major releases postponed until next year, Tenet will likely enjoy a theatrical run with little competition for several months.

Nolan's thriller, which stars John David WashingtonRobert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki, follows a secret agent (Washington) as he attempts to prevent World War III.

“This film is not a time-travel film,” the writer-director told EW earlier this year. “It deals with time and the different ways in which time can function. Not to get into a physics lesson, but inversion is this idea of material that has had its entropy inverted, so it’s running backwards through time, relative to us.” (Confused? You're not the only one.)

If you are going to see Tenet, please observe all safety protocols and wear a mask.

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