We all remember the drama surrounding the release of Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet‘ in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was pushed back several times, but Nolan and the Warner Bros. team were adamant about releasing it inside theaters.
They finally did it back in late August/early September, and the results weren’t great. They weren’t terrible, but they certainly didn’t bring theaters back in the game.
It’s grossed nearly $350 million globally in two months, which again, isn’t terrible. But the budget was north of $200 million, not including a pricey marketing campaign.
Nolan recently spoke to the Los Angeles Times recently, and he seemed to be very pleased with Tenet’s box office haul.
Warner Bros. released ‘Tenet,’ and I’m thrilled that it has made almost $350 million. I am worried that the studios are drawing the wrong conclusions from our release — that rather than looking at where the film has worked well and how that can provide them with much needed revenue, they’re looking at where it hasn’t lived up to pre-COVID expectations and will start using that as an excuse to make exhibition take all the losses from the pandemic instead of getting in the game and adapting — or rebuilding our business, in other words.
And he does have a point. The film did perform better in some areas, and instead of focusing on where it went wrong (New York, Los Angeles) they should be looking at where it went right.
How can they possibly have similar releases, with perhaps much smaller films, where they don’t necessarily need a huge return to make their money back?
It’s an interesting point. But at the end of the day, Nolan was never going to slam the release date decision, so he’s kinda forced to defend it.