John David Washington and Christopher Nolan on the set of Tenet

For Los Angeles residents, moviegoers had to wait almost exactly a year before seeing some of their local theaters open to the public again. The COVID-19 pandemic has hit Hollywood hard, especially since L.A. county has dealt with the highest volume of cases in the U.S, but finally this week the region can open its indoor theaters in anticipation for big 2021 movies like Godzilla vs. Kong and Mortal Kombat. Christopher Nolan was among the first in line.

The Tenet filmmaker has been vocal over the past year about his support for the theatrical experience and preserving the exhibitor/studio relationship amidst the circumstances brought on by the pandemic. Los Angeles theaters returning to the fold on Monday is a big step forward for the industry, and Christopher Nolan took part in a showing at an AMC theater in the area on its first day back in business on Monday. One fellow cinephile spotted the writer/director in a theater elevator:

Christopher Nolan was all dressed up (as per usual) to go see a movie in Burbank, California when one Twitter user caught a selfie with him. We’re not sure what movie Nolan went out to see in celebration of Los Angeles’ theater reopening, but his options included Raya and the Last Dragon, Tom & Jerry, Chaos Walking, Boogie, Judas and the Black Messiah, Nomadland, Wonder Woman 1984 and Promising Young Woman. Perhaps he was catching up with one of his fellow Oscar nominees?

Los Angeles’ theater openings were announced just last week as the county moved up from the red to purple tier. Not all local theaters are opening right away, but they have permission to return to business with COVID-19 health guidelines in place, and theater capacity is restricted to 25 percent. L.A. followed in the footsteps of New York City, which also gave theaters the greenlight the two weeks prior for the first time since the pandemic.

Last year, Christopher Nolan’s name became a key name in the ongoing conversation about how theaters will be affected moving forward when his movie Tenet was caught in the crosshairs over the summer. Tenet was originally going to come out in July, but due to skyrocketing case numbers, the movie was delayed a few times, ultimately landing on a theatrical date in September.

Christopher Nolan's Tenet came with a huge price tag, as the film’s production budget was reportedly $200 million. That made it the kind of movie that needed a theatrical run to be worth the studio’s money. Instead of the movie being delayed a year like many big movies did, such as Marvel’s tentpole Black Widow (coming this May) or Fast & the Furious 9 (which has now been moved twice, now to summer 2022), Tenet stuck out its 2020 opening and made just $363 million worldwide.

This Christopher Nolan spotting is on brand for the filmmaker. Of course, he’s supporting Los Angeles theaters… now if only he could invert time and see Tenet when the city had showtimes available for the action flick!

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