Will 'Tenet' Help Reopen Movie Theaters This Summer?

Published on May 22, 2020

Christopher Noaln and Warner Bros. want Tenet to be the first major event film to reopen theaters. With theaters across the world closed due to the coronavirus, a few territories are already working on opening their theaters soon. Even Italy and China are reopening their movie theaters. If theaters continue to reopen, expect to see Tenet in July.

The Epic Tenet Trailer

The trailer makes very clear Tenet is a big screen event, not just another movie. It’s not a movie that would ever go to VOD. Both Nolan and Warner Bros. wouldn’t allow it. The movie cost well over $200 million dollars, and it shows in the trailer. All the money is on display. The near-three minute trailer reveals a lot about Nolan’s new world, which is heavy on espionage, without revealing too much story.

Tenet Trailer Reaction

Who in their right mind would ever want to watch this movie on VOD? Nolan, who’s coming off the best movie in his career (Dunkirk), is back to his Inception ways with Tenet. It’s such an exciting event film. Nolan is Nolan, of course, but a gigantic and original movie with this cast and these cerebral ideas? Count us in. Even the idea of Kenneth Branagh playing a Russian villain again has us excited. 

Most likely, the trailer doesn’t reveal too much. Nolan doesn’t ever spoil the mystery before one of his movies open. It’s jammed with money shots and dazzling moments, but considering Nolan has a penchant for going epic, the three minute trailer probably doesn’t even begin to cover what’s in the movie. Nolan hardly ever goes under two hours with his movies, even when they’d probably be better off, like the bloated Interstellar or sluggish Dark Knight Rises

Will Tenet Come Out This Summer?

Now the question is, will Tenet actually come out this summer? The trailer doesn’t state a release date, only a “coming soon.” Warner Bros. was going to decide in the last week or two whether to delay the movie, but after radio silence on that update, perhaps the studio is still sticking to their plan. It does look like more and more theaters will open by July, but there are still some uncertainties. For example, the studio won’t open the movie unless it can play in New York City and Los Angeles. The studio needs those territories. They’d most likely cover around 20% of ticket prices. 

Nolan Wants to Help Theaters 

Nolan has been a longtime champion of theaters and 35 mm projection. He believes in the theatrical experience like it’s a religion. He wants to help them out by having Tenet in their theaters this summer, if it’s safe enough. Nolan even wrote a piece for The Washington Post, stressing the importance of going to the movies:

 “When people think about movies, their minds first go to the stars, the studios, the glamour. But the movie business is about everybody: the people working the concession stands, running the equipment, taking tickets, booking movies, selling advertising and cleaning bathrooms in local theaters.” 

The filmmaker added theaters are “a vital part of social life, providing jobs for many and entertainment for all.” Few other major releases remain in July, with the exception of Disney’s Mulan. If theaters do reopen, both those big studio films will have very little competition in their way. 

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Jack Giroux is a Staff Writer at Grit Daily. Based in Los Angeles, he is an entertainment journalist who's previously written for Thrillist, Slash Film, Film School Rejects, and The Film Stage.

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