Christopher Nolan Still Pushing For New Movie Tenet To Open Theaters, But It's Not His Choice

John David Washington in Tenet

We’re coming up on two full months since movie theaters started closing their doors in response to current events. While some states have already put plans in motion to reopen theaters, for the most part, it doesn’t look like this particular industry will be up and running in full force anytime soon, although some are still hoping that things are back to normal on the theatrical front by this summer, including Tenet director Christopher Nolan.

While a lot of movies, both completed and in the midst of production, have seen their releases pushed back, Tenet has stayed put on July 17. Christopher Nolan has made it clear that not only does he not want to delay Tenet, he’d like it to be the first major motion picture that ushers audiences back into movie theaters, and he’d pledged to finish the movie’s post-production and visual effects in the coming weeks.

It’s a lofty goal to want to deliver Tenet on time, but in this case, whether or not that happens is out of Christopher Nolan’s hands. According to insiders who spoke with Variety, having most, if not all movie theaters reopen by July is "overly optimistic." Not only is the coronavirus still rising in certain parts of the United States, but there are concerns that social distancing mandates being loosened in states like Georgia and Texas could lead to even more people catching the disease, thus further hindering plans for theaters to get back up and running.

As things stand now, most theaters don’t plan on resuming operations until June at the earliest, while major chains AMC and Regal see July as a more realistic target. Given how much it cost to make Tenet (reportedly around $200 million), this is a movie that can’t afford to screen in the few areas where the COVID-19 pandemic is no longer as much of a concern. If it can’t screen in major markets like New York and Los Angeles, let alone most of the international market, then that spells trouble for Warner Bros.

Variety also reported that Warner Bros plans to make a decision within a week on whether or not to delay Tenet. The studio will be dropping millions of dollars on marketing, so if Tenet still comes out in July, the advertising campaign will need to kick up a notch soon.

In addition to Tenet, Warner Bros also has Wonder Woman 1984 slated for August 14, with previously having been dated for June 5. Other high-profile movies that are set to come out later this summer include Mulan, The Forever Purge and The Spongebob Movie: Sponge on the Run. However, it’s possible some, if not all of these movies could be further pushed back if theaters aren’t running or if the general public doesn’t feel comfortable taking part in such entertainment just yet.

Tenet will follow a secret agent who’s been tasked with stopping World War III, with time travel/manipulation playing a key role in the narrative. The movie stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Kenneth Branagh, Michael Caine, Dimple Kapadia and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.

Keep checking back with CinemaBlend for more updates on what’s happening with Tenet, and look through our 2020 release schedule to learn what other movies are still set to come out this year.

Adam Holmes
Senior Content Producer

Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore, Adam is a Senior Content Producer at CinemaBlend. He started working for the site back in late 2014 writing exclusively comic book movie and TV-related articles, and along with branching out into other genres, he also made the jump to editing. Along with his writing and editing duties, as well as interviewing creative talent from time to time, he also oversees the assignment of movie-related features. He graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Journalism, and he’s been sourced numerous times on Wikipedia. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.