Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ delayed indefenitely due to pandemic

Warner Brothers pulled Tenet, the new feature film by director Christopher Nolan, from its 2020 release schedule.

Originally scheduled for July 17 this year, Tenet, the movie by creator Christopher Nolan, was first rescheduled after conversations with Warner Brothers producers on July 31, and subsequently on August 12. All of these renegotiations occurred due to the director’s preference for a theatrical. However, due to the pandemic, its release has finally had to be removed from the release schedule due to its popularity, and the number of people it will attract to a close space like a movie theatre.
While the main U.S. theaters in New York and Los Angeles are closed, theaters in China and South Korea are opening, and some territories in Europe and Japan are back online, Warner Brothers is already considering doing an unconventional movie release, meaning that there is a good chance that Tenet will debut abroad first.
Photo: Getty Images

In a statement, Warner Bros. President Toby Emmerich announced: «We are not treating Tenet as a traditional worldwide day and date launch, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that.»

Since Christopher Nolan is a well-known advocate of the big screen, no release in virtual formats (Netflix, HBO, DVDs) is planned. The director hopes that «Tenet» will be a reason for the public to go to theaters given their closure since March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

«Warner Bros. is committed to bringing Tenet to the public in theaters, on the big screen, when exhibitors are ready and public health officials say it is time. Right now, what we need to be is flexible, and we are not treating this as a traditional movie release. We are choosing to open the movie in the middle of the week to allow audiences to discover the movie on their own time, and we plan to play longer, during an extended game period beyond the norm, to develop a very different but successful launch strategy», said Toby Emmerich at the end of his statement.

Premiere in China

China is the second-largest movie market in the world after the United States and continues to grow. Due to the pandemic, cinemas in this country were forced to close, however, they are now opening again. One problem that Tenet may face upon its release in this country is its length. One of the norms for the reopening of movie theaters in the country is that the films last less than 2 hours. Tenet lasts 2 and a half hours. Movies like Dolittle, Bloodshot, and 1917 showed cropped versions of their movies to fit this limit.

Christopher Nolan and his wife at the premiere of Dunkirk in China. Photo:


Tenet is one of Christopher Nolan’s most expensive projects. Even including sales within China, the film would have to raise at least $800 million globally to make a profit. Instead, Indiewire reported that sales could be only 300 to 350 million dollars. This would be another reason why Warner Brothers would be determined to release the film theatrically in as many countries as it can. Throughout Nolan’s career, his films have always managed to make profits well above the initial budget.

Graphic by Molly Kirk


Christopher Nolan fans have been quick to comment, frequently sharing memes on forums, some even claiming that Christopher Nolan is manipulating real life, hanging around a premiere that will never come as the world collapses, and that that is his true movie. This is because the director’s films are always related to issues of time and space. Other fans are calmer because of the delay as they can learn a little more about entropy.

Source: Christopher Nolan Timeposting / Mattia Torinese

Starring John David Washington, known for his performance in the 2018 Oscar-nominated film by Spike Lee BlacKkKlansman, and Robert Pattinson who started his fame with the Twilight Saga, Tenet is the eleventh film by Christopher Nolan that tells the story of a protagonist who has to prevent the third world war through an international espionage operation called Tenet.


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