The new trailer for Christopher Nolan’s Tenet sheds a bit more light on the plot of the time-bending thriller even as it raises new questions about the film. But one debate that it does seem to settle is whether Tenet might bypass a theatrical release in favor of a VOD debut. The trailer ends with the words “coming to theaters” … but when?
Usually, trailers end with the theatrical release date of the movie, but the Tenet release date is conspicuously absent from the new trailer. Warner Bros. confirms to IGN that Tenet’s release date is still July 17, 2020. But will that change?
While the studio declined to address the matter, the reality is that it’s entirely possible Tenet’s release could be delayed due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Ending the new trailer with simply “coming to theaters” certainly casts some doubt — or at least offers Warner Bros. some wiggle room to postpone the film’s release if needed.
Tenet director Christopher Nolan has made no secret of his advocacy for the theatrical experience — particularly IMAX and 70mm, both of which formats Tenet will be presented in — so a pivot to a digital debut for the movie was never really in the cards. The question is, how soon can Warner Bros. open Tenet when consumers and theaters agree it’s safe to do so — and will it be commercially viable for the studio?
As Deadline recently reasoned, “Warner Bros needs at least 80% of the world’s theaters to be open, including New York, Los Angeles, and San Francisco (which rep 25% of a pic’s opening weekend), in order to keep Tenet on its original release date. If such signs don’t appear positive in the next three weeks or sooner, Tenet moves. In order to make the bank on a $200M production, Warners needs the globe’s exhibition infrastructure intact.”