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Tenet has been waiting to be released in theaters for several months. Now, after so many delays, the film looks ready to finally be released in theaters, at least in the places where movie theaters have opened. However, it appears that in the U.K. Tenet has had to be slightly altered from the version originally shown to the British Board of Film Classification, in order for it to receive the rating it wanted.
The original version of Tenet given to the BBFC would have received a 15 rating, meaning that nobody under the age of 15 could view the film in theaters. However, in order to drop to the 12A rating, meaning that viewers under 12 may see the film if accompanied by an adult, Tenet only had to make alterations to a single scene, and so, those changes have reportedly been made and Tenet will open in the U.K. with a 12A rating.
According to FilmStories in the UK, the Tenet filmmakers were advised to "remove shots of a man kicking a woman” from a single scene in order to achieve the lower rating, and those changes have now been made. It's unclear if the shots in question constitute an entire scene, or just a few frames in a larger sequence. Perhaps there were just some shots that made the violence a bit more graphic than needed to be taken out. It's unclear if the American, PG-13 rated version of the film will include the shots in question or not.
In the grand scheme of things, this feels l like a very minor concession. While it's impossible to know what this one scene could mean to the larger movie without seeing it in context, it seems unlikely that removing a few shots is going to drastically change the movie in any real way.
The BBFC submission also confirms the film's runtime at 149 minutes, so strap in because Tenet is a long one, even with a few missing shots.
Tenet will open in the U.K. and many other countries on August 26. It will then follow in the U.S. in select cities beginning September 3, with the plan to expand the film's release in the following weeks as movie theaters begin to open in more places around the country. While many films have decided to forego theatrical release in favor of VOD and streaming, and even Disney has added a streaming option for Mulan, Tenet has held out for a theatrical release, and only a theatrical release. Director Christopher Nolan has long touted the importance of the theatrical experience and it appears he'll be making no concessions here.
This means that while some parts of the U.S. will be able to see Tenet in just a couple weeks, other parts could find themselves waiting weeks or even months to see the movie.