Tetris: What We Know About Apple TV+'s Movie

Taron Egerton in Tetris
(Image credit: Apple TV+)

Talk of Hollywood developing a movie inspired by Tetris dates back to years ago when it was initially being pitched as a science-fiction thriller in the mid-2010s. Needless to say, this did not sound like an idea that would be very easy to pull off, let alone one worth putting millions of dollars into, at that. Luckily, it turns out that this is not the Tetris movie that we will be seeing after all.

Did you ever wonder, as you were deep into the throes of a heated round of the blockbuster, puzzle-based video game that is, literally, about busting blocks, how an idea so simple, yet so effective, came to be and how it eventually took America by storm? Everything you may have ever wanted to know about the story behind one of the most popular video games of all time will be revealed in one of the most intriguing upcoming movies on Apple TV+. When exactly this upcoming video game movie (a term used lightly here) will release on the streaming platform is where we shall start in our quick, convenient breakdown of what there is to know about it.

What Is The Tetris Release Date?

The Apple TV+ logo

(Image credit: Apple)

Those with a subscription to Apple TV+ will be able to stream Tetris when the movie drops on Friday, March 31, 2023. This information was revealed by Apple in mid-February 2023.

At this time, there is nothing to suggest or confirm that Tetris — which is scheduled to be screened during the South By Southwest festival in the middle of March — will be widely distributed in theaters as well. The release comes nearly a decade after the development of a movie based on the titular video game was first reported as a piece of high-concept genre fiction. However, the idea has changed entirely since.

Tetris Is Based On The Real-Life War Over Publishing Rights For The Titular Video Game

Tetris gameplay in Tetris

(Image credit: Applet TV+)

In an interview with GQ in 2020, Tetris star Taron Egerton described the film as more akin to 2010’s The Social Network — director David Fincher’s Oscar-winning dramatization of the development of Facebook — than The LEGO Movie, as some may have assumed at the time. It tells the story of how Dutch-born video game designer and entrepreneur Henk Rogers teamed up with the inventor of Tetris, Alexey Pajitnov, in an effort to secure the rights to distribute the game in the United States at the height of the Cold War in the 1980s.

Lately, we have seen a dramatic shift in the conversation regarding the usually critically detested video game adaptations, following the success of the Sonic the Hedgehog movies and the very positive reception to HBO’s series adaptation of the popular zombie survival games, The Last of Us. However, despite how many surprisingly great video game movies and TV shows there have been recently, personally, I am still relieved that the option to make a direct adaptation of Tetris was abandoned in favor of a biopic.

The Tetris Trailer Teases A Story As Captivating And Addictive As The Game Itself

Video game style graphics from Tetris trailer

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

I would not be surprised if there were some people who, upon discovering that the Tetris movie is a biopic, might be inclined to feel like they would have rather seen the original sci-fi movie pitch instead. However, just one peak at the ‘80s-tastic official trailer below might change their mind:

Set to Europe’s 1986 glam rock classic, “The Final Countdown” (sometimes remixed with 8-bit), the teaser takes us on a dazzling journey back in time with flashes of technology we are now nostalgic for (such as a prototype for the Game Boy) and the fun incorporation of video game graphics. None of that can prepare the viewer for hints at the dark turns that the story will take, such as a glimpse at a car chase, shots of tanks parading through Russia, and other intriguing developments that will have you wonder, All this over a video game?

Taron Egerton Leads The Tetris Cast

Taron Egerton and Nikita Yefremov in Tetris

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

An actor who has already logged some time playing the subject of biopics — Olympic ski jumper Eddie Edwards in Eddie the Eagle from 2015 and Elton John in 2019’s Rocketman — is British actor Taron Egerton, who is also donning a mustache to lead the Tetris cast as Henk Rogers. According to a preview by Entertainment Weekly, the game’s inventor, Alexey Pajitnov, is played by the Russian-born Nikita Yefremov making his English-language film debut.

The EW article provides additional details about who plays whom in the Tetris cast — such as The Iron Lady and Dunkirk star Matthew Marsh as then-president of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, who becomes one of Rogers’ biggest adversaries in his efforts to secure the titular game’s rights. Also making things interesting are British media mogul Robert Maxwell (Roger Allam, who recently appeared in Netflix’s The Sandman cast as Azazel), his son, Kevin (Anthony Boyle from the acclaimed 2019 biopic, Tolkien), and the president of Nintendo, Hiroshi Yamauchi (Star Wars: The Last Jedi’s Togo Igawa). 

Stan & Ollie Director Jon S. Baird Helms Tetris

Taron Egerton in Tetris

(Image credit: Apple TV+)

A filmmaker who has previous experience directing a biopic — 2018’s Stan & Ollie, which told the story of legendary comedy duo, Laurel & Hardy, and the British miniseries Stonehouse more recently — is Jon S. Baird, who is also at the helm of Tetris. The Scottish filmmaker — also known for the James McAvoy-led movie, Filth, from 2013 — personally confirmed in a tweet that this new film had finished shooting in Glasgow in March 2021.

The film comes from a screenplay by Noah Pink, who knows a thing or two about dramatizing true events from being one of the co-creators of National Geographic’s Genius, which has covered the life stories of Albert Einstein, Picasso, and Aretha Franklin so far and has a fourth season about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on the way. Tetris is also marking a reunion between Taron Egerton and his Kingsman movies director, Matthew Vaughn, who — like he also did for Rocketman — serves as a producer.

Well, I cannot say I ever anticipated being this excited for a movie about Tetris, but here we are! Let the blocks fall where they may when the film premieres on Apple TV+ at the end of March.

Jason Wiese
Content Writer

Jason Wiese writes feature stories for CinemaBlend. His occupation results from years dreaming of a filmmaking career, settling on a "professional film fan" career, studying journalism at Lindenwood University in St. Charles, MO (where he served as Culture Editor for its student-run print and online publications), and a brief stint of reviewing movies for fun. He would later continue that side-hustle of film criticism on TikTok (@wiesewisdom), where he posts videos on a semi-weekly basis. Look for his name in almost any article about Batman.