Christopher Nolan Reportedly Isn’t Worried About Tenet’s Box Office Performance

Robert Pattinson in Tenet
(Image credit: (Warner Bros))

It’s no secret there haven't been any winners of the summer box office season in 2020. Movie theaters have been closed since mid-March, but are now gearing up for a comeback next month. One film that has been placed in the center of conversation as cinephiles contemplate their return to theaters is Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. According to a new report, the filmmaker’s decision to keep the title positioned at this tricky time comes down to preserving his love for the theatrical experience no matter the cost.

At the beginning of June, Warner Bros was faced with a tough decision that ultimately has led to Tenet being shifted further down in summer twice. Tenet was originally set for a July 17 date was eventually pushed back to August 12th amid global health concerns. During a video meeting between Warner Bros and the Inception writer/director, Christopher Nolan asked that the movie become one of the first big-budget movies to hit theaters following months of concern of public gatherings, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Although the studio laid out the potential returns and losses for a number of new release dates during the meeting, Christopher Nolan’s intentions behind the decision was not based on money. The filmmaker’s reasoning is reportedly all about standing in “solidarity” with theater exhibitors who have been struggling and reminding moviegoers about the power of the form as a number of 2020 releases have found their first home on streaming.

Tenet is Christopher Nolan’s latest ambitious film, costing over $200 million to produce. The film was shot in a number of locations across the globe and implements incredible practical effects including an actual exploding 747 plane. The studio will need the movie to score $400 million worldwide in order to break even, which is usually no problem for the filmmaker considering his track record with blockbusters. But this is uncharted territory for the theater industry.

Due to this decision Tenet has gone through two delays. At first it was pushed two weeks to July 31 and it was recently moved down to August 12. This was set off by the current spike in COVID-19 in a few regions in the U.S. such as highly-populated California, Texas and Florida. The studio is hoping that a Wednesday debut will allow the film to premiere more safely instead of promoting droves of people over its first weekend. AMC Theaters set to open on July 31 will be promoting safety guidelines such as requiring guests to wear their masks to showings.

Another film in a similar position is Disney’s Mulan, which is currently expected to hit theaters on August 21 after a number of delays. You can check out CinemaBlend’s 2020 release calendar and check back for updates on upcoming summer movies.

This poll is no longer available.

Sarah El-Mahmoud
Staff Writer

Sarah El-Mahmoud has been with CinemaBlend since 2018 after graduating from Cal State Fullerton with a degree in Journalism. In college, she was the Managing Editor of the award-winning college paper, The Daily Titan, where she specialized in writing/editing long-form features, profiles and arts & entertainment coverage, including her first run-in with movie reporting, with a phone interview with Guillermo del Toro for Best Picture winner, The Shape of Water. Now she's into covering YA television and movies, and plenty of horror. Word webslinger. All her writing should be read in Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 voice over.