A new report reveals that Warner Bros. lost a minimum of $50 million from Tenet’s theatrical exclusive release early into the ongoing pandemic.
A new report reveals that Warner Bros. lost a minimum of $50 million from Tenet‘s theatrical exclusive release early into the ongoing pandemic. Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, the film centered on a secret agent who learns how to manipulate the flow of time and must use it to prevent an attack from the future that threatens to annihilate the present world. The cast for the film included John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh.
Tenet became one of the more infamous films of 2020, having been delayed three times before WB ultimately released the film in select theaters in the UK in late August and the US in early September. This move was highly reported as stemming from Nolan’s push for a sole theatrical release instead of suffering further delays or becoming the studio’s first film to launch on HBO Max. Tenet would ultimately receive generally positive reviews from critics and become the first Hollywood tent-pole to open during the pandemic, grossing over $363 million worldwide against a $200 million budget, which was reported to have lost WB some money though a clearer figure appears to be in sight now.
Variety has released a new report breaking down Nolan’s new deal with Universal Pictures and the crumbling of his relationship with WB. The report reveals that Nolan’s push for Tenet to receive an exclusive theatrical release last year cost the studio a loss of at least $50 million. Previous reports stated the film could lose the studio upwards of $100 million, though executives reported at the time the losses wouldn’t top $50 million.
Nolan’s push for a theatrical exclusive release last year divided the public right down the middle, with some defending his decision as a drive to keep theaters alive while others heavily criticized it for putting people at risk during the pandemic. Tenet hit theaters in the middle of 2020, long before a vaccine had even passed testing let alone come to the public, and the resulting loss of money shows the effects this time period had on its box office success. While some films are still struggling to recapture the pre-pandemic box office numbers, including WB’s own Space Jam: A New Legacy and The Suicide Squad, the decision to push the film out as early as it did certainly hurt its chances.
It is interesting to note that the report indicates Tenet‘s theatrical release cost WB “at least” $50 million, a number in line with the studio’s previous reports though also one that contradicts their claims of a maximum loss at that level. With just over a year past its release, it seems likely that an exact figure may never be revealed, though as insiders continue to explore Nolan’s new partnership with Universal Pictures, it is possible said number could come to light. For those who skipped its theatrical release last year, Tenet is now streaming on HBO Max.
More: Why Christopher Nolan Is So Obsessed With Time In His Movies
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