The small victory comes as the movie theater industry has been hard-hit by the pandemic shutdown
Credit: Kimberley French / Focus Features

The new thriller team-up starring Diane Lane and Kevin Costner made a big splash over the weekend.

Let Him Go premiered in select theaters Friday, and with an estimated ticket sales total of $4.1 million across 2,454 locations, according to the Associated Press, Focus Features had the top film at the U.S. box office over the weekend. It marks the largest film opening in six weeks as Hollywood continues to grapple with the ongoing pandemic.

"[We're] excited to see audiences coming back to theaters," Lisa Bunnell, president of distribution at Focus, said, per the AP.

In Let Him Go, Costner, 65, portrays retired sheriff George Blackledge married to his wife, Margaret, played by Lane, 55. Following the sudden death of their son, the couple leave their Montana ranch to rescue their young grandson from dangerous circumstances involving a family living off the grid in the Dakotas.

When they realize the family has no intention of letting the child go, George and Margaret are left with no choice but to fight to get him back.

While many movie theaters across the country remain shuttered or at minimized capacity due to the coronavirus pandemic, weekend box office reports have seen astronomically reduced totals and years-old movies pop in the top 10 as they are replayed at theaters and drive-ins that need content.

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Back in September, Christopher Nolan's Tenet was meant to kick-start a return to moviegoing, however, the big-budget blockbuster fizzled after its opening weekend gross of $20.2 million. Tenet has gone on to make nearly $350 million worldwide.

The director recently told The Los Angeles Times that he is "thrilled" about the movie's performance amid the pandemic constraints.

"But I am worried," added Nolan, "that the studios are drawing the wrong conclusions from our release — that rather than looking at where the film has worked well and how that can provide them with much needed revenue, they’re looking at where it hasn’t lived up to pre-COVID expectations and will start using that as an excuse to make exhibition take all the losses from the pandemic instead of getting in the game and adapting — or rebuilding our business, in other words."

"Long term, moviegoing is a part of life, like restaurants and everything else. But right now, everybody has to adapt to a new reality," he said.

Let Him Go is now playing in theaters