The Battle To Release ‘Tenet’ In Theaters Isn’t About The Money For Christopher Nolan (Updated)

UPDATE: In regards to the Hollywood Reporter report cited here, a source familiar with the matter tells Uproxx, “The studio determines the release date. It’s not up to Christopher Nolan.”


As the global pandemic threw the entire movie industry into chaos with films abandoning release dates in droves and/or pivoting to video-on-demand, Christopher Nolan‘s upcoming blockbuster Tenet has been notably resistant to abandoning a summer 2020 theatrical release. When it began to look like the theater industry roaring back in July was not going to happen, Tenet delayed its release date from July 17 to July 31, which was extremely optimistic. Then, less than two weeks later, Tenet pushed its release date to August 12, where it currently sits, and once again its chances aren’t looking great.

With COVID-19 cases in the United States beginning to spike upward after states eased restrictions on social distancing and reopened businesses to the public — bars and restaurants have been cited as significant hot spots — the theater industry continues to face even more uncertainty about its future. However, Tenet has yet to abandon its mission to be one of the first movies back on the big screen, and according to a new report from The Hollywood Reporter:

The studio laid out several theoretical scenarios for Nolan, listing likely profits and losses with his movie being released on different dates, according to multiple sources with knowledge of the call. Presented with an economic case for moving Tenet to Aug. 7, when presumably the novel coronavirus would be a more contained threat and box office grosses more reliable, Nolan said it wasn’t about money, but instead about the desire to be the one the first big studio films back in theaters, to show faith in the form and solidarity with exhibitors, when they’re allowed to open and say they’re ready.

As THR notes, Nolan is a fierce advocate of the theatrical experience, and during the early days of the pandemic, he petitioned Congress to offer relief to the theater industry as it faced an unprecedented threat to its future existence.

(Via The Hollywood Reporter)