Every movie, even the best ones, eventually fall from the #1 spot.
These dim theater days it only takes $3.6 million for the weekend box office to be #1. That honor has been Tenet’s for weeks, but this last weekend it goes to Robert De Niro and company with The War With Grandpa.
Despite the loss of more than 500 Regal Theaters, total grosses went up this weekend. Led by newcomer “The War with Grandpa,” the top 10 grossed about $9.7 million. That’s up from $8.5 million last weekend. With so many library titles adding to the pot, the full take might reach $13 million. By comparison. 2019 saw $141 million on Columbus Day weekend.
Meanwhile, Stephen King went to theaters Saturday night — lucky guy that he was able to patronize an open theater in his area, ours are all closed around here until this Friday — and the king of horror felt “terrible for the film industry.”
Low box office sales are scaring studios in all kinds of bad ways right now, but even so, War With Grandpa showed people are still attending movies in theaters.
Here we are, four weeks since Tenet was released in the United States. Box office sales are waning, but it still holds the #1 spot and has amassed $42 million domestically and almost $300 million worldwide, mostly due to a lack of any serious competition. I mean, The New Mutants was #2 for sales. That says it all.
One of the things most enjoyable after watching a movie, is seeing what others thought about it, reading reviews, soaking in those myriad of tidbits in a movie like this one, which seems engineered specifically toward repeat watching.
If you’re in the camp who thinks it’s unsafe in your area going to theaters at the present time, then a movie which by design encourages repeat viewing is going to be less desirable to see in theaters. I have to wonder if this is playing a part to some moviegoer’s hesitation?
Tenet runs dangerously close to being too clever for itself. Maybe even crosses the line here and there.
We’re probably not going to rewatch it in the theaters, instead waiting for streaming. Well, at least Kara won’t watch it at all again, I’m guessing. Me, on the other hand, I see the need to take another shot at solving the Rubik’s Cube that is Christopher Nolan’s newest enigmatic film.
Also, I missed just how tall Elizabeth Debicki is in the movie. She’s 6’3″ in real life and movies can play with depth, but there is one scene mentioned in a Vulture article that drills home her tallness. In fact, the whole article made me chuckle at how hyper-focused it is on her Amazonian height.
This is when Debicki, seated in the back seat of the car, like, behind the passenger seat, raises her leg above the arm rest, reaches across the front seat, and clicks the door unlocked, so she can open the rear passenger door. I’m being deadass: Elizabeth Debicki is tall enough to unlock a car’s backdoor by dismantling the driver-side child look control from the backseat. With her feet. This isn’t The Prestige, there is no magic trick. She is just that tall.
Should moviegoers have to watch a movie more than once to enjoy it?
Nolan asks a question I can’t remember ever asking myself before: what if a film is created to intentionally require people to rewatch it to fully comprehend all aspects of the story? I’m not sure if that was Nolan’s plan here, but I’ve read multiple say this in reviews; that watching Tenet once isn’t enough.
I’m going against that theory. A film isn’t some very abstract piece of art. It isn’t a sculpture or a bunch of trash assembled in a curious faction. I’ve seen art pieces that, literally, are made out of trash and thought: huh?
I would like to see Tenet again, but as said in our video review and at above, this will probably not happen in the theater. Not sure how or if this will improve or decrease my overall feelings toward the movie.
Regardless your feelings on the complexities of the story, there enough people out there complaining that the plot is anywhere from “convoluted” to “confusing” to “unclear” and many more. A lot of people didn’t get the inverse time travel stuff.
Time travel movies can be difficult to follow and almost always contain some sort of paradox that questions the overall story logic.
After only one viewing I honestly can’t go deep enough into the story to say whether or not the story makes complete sense. Should I have to? That’s a valid complaint.
I’m not used to rewatching movies for enhanced clarity and to learn more details. I did enjoy the technology component and am a fan of time travel stories, so, again (yeah, said it like three times) will probably return and will be curious to see what my feelings are on a second watch. Most likely that will happen on streaming.
But I’m not in any hurry to do so — which says something.
The Tenet palindrome and 10 x 10
The Tenet title backwards is ten spelled both ways, which is the amount of time of the final action scene (not in real time, but in a countdown timer). It would have been truly epic if the movie run time was exactly 10 x 10 = 100 minutes. Further constraining Nolan to get to the point a little more quickly than the 2 1/2 hours used.
Maybe in his next movie, he’ll challenge himself to use less than two hours to get the story told. Somebody needs to tell these established filmmakers that less is more.
The middle section of this movie felt like it could have been tightened more. I liked the ending and the beginning.
The movie is LOUD, like so loud Huey Lewis would complain “loud”
Remember that opening scene of Back To The Future where Huey Lewis plays a teacher reviewing talent and says of Marty McFly’s band, The Pinheads, “You’re just too loud.”
That is how most of the IMAX movie experience is for Tenet. Like the volume is turned to 11, so much that at times I heard speaker buzzing. That’s too loud when you’re overdriving the speakers and you’re not at a Metallica concert. Not sure why Nolan wanted to overclock the sound volume, but think this contributed to complaints that some dialogue was difficult to hear.
We didn’t struggle to hear the dialogue, but both felt the volume was unnecessarily loud at times. We’re in a captive theater, we don’t need to have our ears hurt. You can wow us without discomfort, Mr. Nolan.
Reviews by Others
What do others think of Tenet?
tensecondsfromnow / film-authority.com: “…the big finale pulls things together with elan, and makes Tenet a satisfying film, even if it doesn’t provide quite the shock to the system that Inception did. If you only plan on leaving your current place of shelter to see one film in 2020, Tenet’s mix of bombast and sophistication sets an imperious, irresistable tone.”
Annlyel Online (90/100): “For spectacle, it’s perfection. For storytelling, this is probably the most confusing movie I have ever seen.”
Bookidote / Trang: “…a strong idea that works if you don’t think too hard about it, yet needs you to think hard about it to understand it. Spectacle and soundscape are both grandiose, as Nolan is known to do.”
Caution Spoilers: “Ignore my 11 year old’s questionable statement that “the music in this is questionable,” as the score is top-notch even when it’s as head-hurting as the ideas. We were united in our four star ratings though, and our regular bafflement. A rewatch would risk becoming a “fill in the blanks” exercise, even though that’s probably an impossible task.”
Cindy Bruchman (7/10): (letter directed to Mr. Nolan) “In Tenet, the chase scenes involving the time sequences were thrilling and complicated and gorgeous to watch. You are unique and clever. I don’t see how anyone would object to your thrilling scenes. I won’t.”
Cinematic Doctrine: “Nolan’s latest film is one of those rare films that grow in estimation. I would rather have a bad experience during my first watch and a good experience every rewatch than the reverse. Tenet is that kind of wholly original experience needed to bring people back into a dark room with a big screen and a bunch of strangers, after six months of not doing so, not just once, but multiple times.”
Drew’s Movie Blog: “I thought Tenet was GOOD. In classic Christopher Nolan fashion, this film has an ambitious concept with a very intricate plot that will certainly require multiple viewings to fully catch all of the details. As a fan of great action sequences, this film is chock full of amazing set pieces all done using practical effects for an absolutely stunning experience.”
fivethreeninety: “…it’s a fantastic, cinematic experience, that should be seen by everyone. I know that despite the faults I see in it, I’d be up for watching it a couple more times.”
Flicks & Pieces / Luke Kent (3.5/5): “A film which will benefit from repeat viewings, that will spark conversation, and that undoubtedly was put together with the shared cinema-going experience firmly in mind.”
Funk’s House of Geekery (9/10): “This is another home run for Nolan, a perfect blend of action and science fiction. The only thing holding it back is the characters lacking a relatable motivation, and some of their decisions at key moments feel out of character. Make sure you see it twice, though, as it is beautifully disorientating.”
Giadreams / The Movie My Life: “Overall, there’s certainly more to love about Tenet than not. As such, watch it because there is only one Christopher Nolan, and we must enjoy his creative gifts while we can!”
hallymustang: “On future rewatches understanding it more might make it more enjoyable but the characters are underdone and beyond “The Protagonist” trying to save the world you don’t feel that invested in him. As a visual experience ‘Tenet’ is epic, as an entertaining movie it’s average.”
Irfan Nordin / Irfan Film Reviews (8.5/10): “A visually dazzling puzzle for film lovers to unlock, Tenet serves up all the cerebral spectacle audiences expect from a Christopher Nolan production.”
Jade / The U Reviews: “…boldly manipulates time to baffling and fascinating effect, stirring giddy excitement in sci-fi fans who yearn for a shiny new concept to unravel.”
Jason’s Movie Blog (4.4/5): “Personally, I really liked this movie. Sure, the complexity of the narrative was a bit haphazard and could’ve streamlined a little more as well as some of the character developments for most of the feature’s players, but I thoroughly enjoyed the film and was completely engrossed from start to finish.”
JustJen / Sometimes Objective Reviews: “Personally, I like a movie that keeps you thinking long after the credits. It’s only been a day but I have been hit with a few waves of crashing realisations over certain actions that took place in the movie. I might not have understood it when I was watching it, but it clicked later on.”
Keith & The Movies (5/5): ” Christopher Nolan has once again done what he does best – create an exhilarating cinematic experience aimed at wowing you visually and challenging you intellectually. It’s story is sure to be too dense for some, especially those wanting more easy-going blockbuster fare. But for everyone else buckle up, put your thinking cap on, and enjoy the ride. We don’t get movies like this very often”
Luke Atkins (8.5/10): ” I’d give it a 10/10 based on my love for theoretical physics—thus many of the film’s ideas, which materialize in breathtaking, novel ways. However, I bet that many viewers will give it around a 6 or 7, which is valid. I also don’t think that most critics will understand it, which will hurt the work’s reception. It is contrived and disorienting and ludicrous for a reason. But it’s still a superb, entertaining, genre-bending trip.”
Phil The Bear’s Film Reviews: “Will your head hurt thinking about it afterwards? Probably. But that just means you get to enjoy it again as you start to piece together the intricate puzzle that Nolan has laid out for us.”
Screenhub Entertainment: “I recommend that you be fully awake and pay attention to all the little details during your experience. You will be confused after a first viewing, which is normal. Give yourself the chance to see it a second time and search the internet to fully have the finale explained to you.”
WCRobinson (8.5/10): “…is a rough diamond; the central conceit is basis for spectacular flashpoints, yet by over-explaining itself the film loses opportunity to inform character development. The innovative filmmaking is an impressive showcase for how to surprise within a medium and genre.”
We Minored In Film / Julianne Ramsey: “…is well worth your time. It reminds you of the thrills and excitement missing since theaters closed, and reminds you that it’s an experience that really only a film on the big screen can provide.”
Wonders In The Dark: “…is a strong, bold effort that invites repeated viewings, not to get past its aggressive sound mix, but to unravel the timelines of the three main characters who are complicated through the plot machinations of the movie.”
9takes (5.5/10): “The movie is an elaborate effort that could reward its audience after several viewings and some YouTube trips, but for its presentation card (the crucial first time), it depends excessively on sensory overload to trap the viewer in its narrative maze. And while trapped, you’ll likely experience some form of discomfort. Inception (2010), which I consider to be its sort-of twin sibling, is a better movie. I’ll stick to that one.”
Martin Raybould: “I soon ceased caring how inversions differed from straightforward time travel and by the end was prepared to root for Andrei in his quest to destroy humanity as we know it. At least if he succeeded it would put paid to any threat of a Tenet 2.”
Rachel’s Reviews (4/10): “I appreciate that Nolan is pushing mainstream audiences and is not satisfied with the ordinary movie-going experience. Unfortunately sometimes he forgets that the basics of good cinema are important too- characters, story, intelligible dialogue, emotion etc. We need it all for the pretty images to mean something and make an impact. Sorry Nolan! Try again!”
Reely Bernie (2.5/5): “I would say Tenet lines up with the Inception problem: It’s cold, overindulged in its own exposition, and goes on forever. And, like the Dunkirk problem, Nolan moves his characters around like pawns on his celluloid chessboard and positions any fleshed-out humanity into checkmate.”
Robb Shepherd / 21 Word Review: “For a high-concept thriller, Tenet seems under-baked and best served with your brain switched off. Time for Nolan to rewind.”
Ruth / Flixchatter Blog (2.75/5): “Lastly, while I still think Nolan is a visionary filmmaker, I’d love to see him tackle a smaller film (maybe under $50mil) and come up with something stronger narratively instead of just a big puzzle piece. That said, I’m glad I saw it on the big screen, and considering how confusing the movie is, the 150-minute running time actually doesn’t feel tedious or overlong.”
Salt Lake Film Review / Matt Bullions: “…is a simple idea in theory, it’s basically Nolan’s Bond movie. However, it’s over-complicated just for the hell of it and it increasingly feels like Nolan is just making movies for himself. Tenet is not a movie to be enjoyed by the masses and I feel like even the most ardent Nolan apologists will find themselves scratching their heads.”
Screen Zealots (2/5): “I hate that “Tenet” falls apart so spectacularly, because I think this could’ve been a terrific film with a whole lot more to say about the world we live in. Just because it is a “wtf did I just watch?” movie doesn’t mean it’s the profound work of a cinematic auteur.”
Society Reviews: “This inversion plays with elements of time travel and parallel universes but doesn’t clarify the rules of it’s universe enough to make sense. The main character is a person the film purposely doesn’t name for the sake of the plot, but this creates a story that is devoid of emotion. Washington is too mysterious for his own good and the only true interaction he has with the world is an odd pseudo-relationship with Elizabeth Debicki that never crosses the threshold of believablity.”
Starloggers: “Tenet only calls for it just to watch the well-crafted visuals of inverted fights and car chases. But doing that will be easier and more rewarding when watching it at home instead of theaters. At least from your device or TV you can skip over the plodding and convoluted first half of the film and get right into the off-kilter action scenes.”
Tom E / Plain Simple Tom Reviews: “As visually impressive as any other Nolan film, with good music, a willing cast, and clearly a lot of hard work having been put into it, but it buckles under the weight of its immense ambition and the ridiculously unfathomable plot, uneven sound design, and cold nature prove to be an unfortunate hindrance.”
What Went Wrong or Right With? (5/10): “If you take away the tinkering with time, what you’re left with is an immaculate set and wardrobe but little in the way of substance. There’s only so many times you can watch a rich, upper-class man (or someone dressed as one) save the day without getting bored or gipping on your popcorn. The fact that this hero is black makes no real difference. This is just another Inception with elements of Batman Begins to please the spelunking, BASE–jumping crowd”
When The Credits Roll: “I feel like I’m very ambivalent on the film, perhaps leaning towards liking it. I tend to prioritise character and theme work over large-scale cinematic flair and great technicals, so I’m probably not Tenet‘s ideal audience. Though I do think Nolan needs to sort out his problems with these things, lest his entire catalogue be tainted with machinated plot points and lifeless characters who are plot devices rather than fleshed out people.”
Linked above and wondering what would be cool to do next? Commenting once in awhile is always good (I like reader and other blogger interaction). If you have the trackback/pingback come to your site then just approve it because after people read your review then they can come here and follow links and read someone else’s review. What comes around goes around and sharing is the ultimate “thank you!” on the internet.
Did I miss your review? Use the comments to tell me about your movie-related/review blog and I’ll follow. I like following movie-related blogs and pull quoting from my reading list as well as other new blogs shared, liked and discovered.
Not that movie star endorsements should sway your thinking as to whether or not it’s safe to see Tenet at the movie theater in your area, but we offer a couple celebrity endorsements for your perusal.
Hugh Jackman isn’t the only big star to head to the theaters to see Tenet. In late August it was revealed by Tom Cruise on his social media that he masked up, took a taxi through London, and headed into the IMAX screen to watch Tenet– which subsequently, pleased Tenet star John David Washington. And, not surprisingly, Tom Cruise said he “loved it.”
Something I didn’t realize — and it’s a bit embarrassing to admit — was John David Washington is Denzel’s son! How could I not have caught this until recently? just didn’t pay that much attention to John David’s last name, I guess. Count me a Denzel fan and, for the most part, enjoyed John David’s performance in Tenet.
Am still sticking by Tenet not being the greatest movie ever and not even my favorite Nolan film to date, but from a technical standpoint, it’s his most ambitious work. I can see why those in the business are gushing over it.
But, as I said, in our review, technical achievements in a movie aren’t all that we should evaluate for great films: what about the story? The Tenet story, as told, is confusing. Pretty much all time travel or manipulation stories like this are difficult to follow.
Is Tenet worth risking your life to catch COVID-19? I’m not aboard into that sort of panic train, but it is an entertaining movie and we recommend to those, again, that feel safe enough to go. If you don’t right now, it’s all good, because this one is going to be around awhile, and probably gets an encore once the pandemic concerns have passed.
Tenet apparently didn’t do the $20 million that was reported. It’s half that, which could threaten another delay for Wonder Woman 1984 release in October. Dune, which has a pretty cool looking trailer, is also at risk.
Warners did not break down the $20.2 million total by days, or by country. However, according to multiple sources, Canada’s initial Wednesday-Sunday grossed $2.6 million. Based on normal play, Labor Day likely brought in about $2.5 million. In the U.S., there were limited shows August 30-September 2, followed by a full day on Thursday, September 3; a fair guess for that period is $5 million. That comes to around $10 million, leaving “Tenet” about about the same for its actual opening three day weekend in North America.
Still, $10 million in box office sales for Tenet considering the number of theaters that haven’t reopened and the number of moviegoers that haven’t gone back yet isn’t “mediocre” as the article states. Also, don’t forget the $100+ million in international revenue.
Assuming those numbers aren’t faked.
One reason I’m not a political blogger — and likely couldn’t be, frankly — is pure disgust at the phony environment. Here we are a couple short months from a presidential election and who seriously knows what to trust from the media regarding both presidential candidates. Everything seems overblown and with exclamation !!!! marks !!!! At some point, you become breathless reading about so many different panic modes. Voters can analyze President Trump’s impulsive, sanity-stretched rule over the last four years and Biden’s 40+ year political record (and the fact he looks at death’s door), but it’s difficult to gauge the unbiased truth from the media about either candidate. Can you?
And, more relevant to this site, we’re in the midst of an event we’ve not experienced before in my lifetime and not even the entertainment sector is safe from spin.
Spin, spin, spin.
Making box-office gross available is a norm, but it’s not a requirement. Studios made the collective judgment decades ago that the reports provide more positive energy for successful films than harm for the bad ones, but the horse-race aspects often create the impression that the immediate response determines a film’s value. For “Tenet,” Warners decided to buck tradition and withhold information, thereby avoiding much of the rush to judgment. It also allows the studio greater capacity to spin.
This seems like we were being setup to accept falsehoods involving the actual box office states. Unbelievable – and yet in 2020 nothing seems to be.
We don’t know what the streaming viewing numbers are, because Netflix doesn’t use third party analytics and the closest they’ll come to telling us is their top 10 list. This list, they say — and we are supposed to believe them — is the popularity of movie and TV shows on their service. Hulu claimed an Andy Samberg movie was one of their top movies (see: 15+ Palm Springs Reviews – Samberg Still Isn’t Funny), but was it? Where is the independent verification?
Too much of what we see and read in 2020 is spin and it’s disappointing. We don’t have independent, third party verification much any more. Instead, we have some popular website or organization saying they have “inside sources” and that makes news. We have the companies themselves reporting popularity of shows they paid to create. We are, literally, trusting what we’re being told, not what really is happening.
I don’t mean to be the cynic here, but the amount of news I’m reading that I believe is 100% accurate is very, very small.
All this to say, we don’t know exactly what the true Tenet numbers are in the United States. Warner Bros. provided part of the story. We don’t know what Mulan’s numbers behind the premium gated VOD wall of Disney+ either, but we’re hearing it’s doing very well. We’ll just have to take Disney’s word for that.
Oceanfront property is raging in Arizona right now.
Tenet – PG – 2 hr 30 min (IMAX) NO SPOILERS Movie Review Watched in theater Friday September 4, 2020 Regal 16 Cinemas – Lacey, Washington #32new movie seen in theaters in 2020
John David Washington plays a James Bond type character called The Protagonist in a mission to thwart a reverse time travel technology from the hands of an abusive arms dealer. The Protagonist protects the wife of the arms dealer through various means.
Christopher Nolan wrote and directed this technical marvel, and it’s a real spectacle. Bonus points for Nolan shooting surreal scenes of twisting time and space. Literally people, cars, boats moving backwards and at the same time somehow other people moving forward. Just watching this is entertaining, nevermind the story. It’s also kind of jarring as you start to drift from paying attention to the story and watching the special effects.
The opening and closing of the movie are good, but the middle is a bit muddled. We found the whole “inversion” stuff fascinating, but a bit tiresome. This movie is long, but no longer than a typical James Bond movie.
This seems like the type of movie the creators intended to be rewatched, to pick up new things missed, since the speed that almost everything happens is fast. Despite the long run time, a lot of story unfolds. There isn’t much time spent on fleshing out characters, we clearly know pretty much everybody that is good or bad and it’s just what are they doing that we’re focused on.
It seems Nolan spent more time wanting to wow us with visuals and story than developing any real character depth. The visuals are at times stunning, no doubt, especially anything involving inverted time scenes, but is it a bad thing when you are pulled out of a movie and thinking, “how did they shoot that?” I don’t remember my mind lingering that way so often with Star Wars in the 70s, primarily because the story was so irresistible. That’s not the case for Tenet. The story isn’t quite strong enough, I think because of the lack of character depth. A more recent movie, 1917, had me engrossed in the continuous one shot concept, although there were cuts, I didn’t get thrown from that, because the soldiers mission was hard to tear away from. This aspect of filmmaking is, at times, missing from Tenet.
Overall the movie is entertaining. It’s not an amazing watch, other than visually, which if you can see it in IMAX, that’s the ticket to buy. The sound effects are great, sometimes fantastic. The acting is good. I liked Kat, the arms dealer’s wife played by Elizabeth Debicki. Am not that familiar with her in other roles, but she was believable, that she would do just about anything to get away from her abusive husband. Robert Pattinson plays The Protagonist’s handler and his performance was kind of average.
Kara wasn’t as excited about and entertained by the movie. Spy movies are among her least favorite genres and the sci-fi time travel aspect was especially not to her liking. She did appreciate the visuals and you can hear her specific commentary in the just left the theater video embedded above.
There aren’t many new movies to see in the theaters right now — there aren’t many movies like this one, in fact — if you have theaters reopened in your area. Not sure it will be as exciting on a smaller screen, so see it on IMAX when you feel safe enough to do so.
Rating (out of 5 stars): ⭐️⭐️⭐️½ (Todd) ⭐️⭐️½ (Kara)
Seeing this in IMAX would be ideal. Hopefully we can catch it in that format this week, but we will see this in some format very soon. The anticipation due to the lack of seeing any blockbusters for many months just makes this viewing all the more anticipated.
Anticipation: 8/10! (with an extra exclamation mark)
That’s the only new movie opening in the United States theaters this week, but there is another movie going to Disney+ and a premium charge of $29.99 and that’s …
We’ve been talking about this movie since the beginning of 2020. I’m a little bummed that with some theaters reopened, it won’t be screened. At least one reader has commented that their household will welcome the additional $30 premium charge (see: Will Movie Streaming Buffet Keep Adding Premium Titles Like Mulan for Extra Fees?). It’s about a 95% chance we will not be paying that to see Mulan. Instead, we’ll wait until it appears for no extra charge on Disney+ on December 4, 2020. You can read the details at that link, no sense rehashing in this post.
Going forward in September, we’re looking at a movie theater release schedule of one new movie each week with a bunch of classics and some special Fathom retro films. Hopefully, studios will gain confidence and move up dates of more titles. October is looking much brighter. It all just depends on how many theaters reopen and how many moviegoers feel safe enough to return.
Wherever you are watching movies, happy watching to you!
There’s only one lone Regal Cinema open in our state, located near the state capital in Lacey, Washington, a suburb of Olympia and both IMAX 2D screenings of Tenet on 8/31 are sold out (see grayed out image above).
The first 2D showing is also sold to social distancing capacity (less than 50% available seating capacity), but the other four 2D showing have tickets remaining as of 1pm PT on 8/30.
Internationally, Tenet opened this weekend and made $54 million at the box office.
The sci-fi epic, long pegged as the film that would restart moviegoing after prolonged cinema closures, had the strongest start in the United Kingdom, where it made $7.1 million. “Tenet” launched in 41 international markets this weekend, including France ($6.7 million), Korea ($5.1 million) and Germany ($4.2 million). Next weekend, the Warner Bros. film will touch down in the U.S., Russia and China.
I will probably reserve my ticket in advance, but my schedule for tomorrow is still a bit undecided. Also, don’t know if Kara will want to go or not yet. If so, we’re probably eyeing the later showings at 7:45pm or 9pm, if they don’t sell out first. Would like to catch this in IMAX, of course, but that probably won’t be possible schedule-wise and with ticket availability.
Am not sure with only being one theater and a little over an hour or so drive from Seattle, that Tenet shouldn’t be sold out much more than it is. This could signal a lack of interest in moviegoers returning in our state to a tentpole movie, perhaps because King County is where the virus first appeared. Might be less people in our area that are interested in returning to the theater period.
If you’re keeping track of when movie theaters are reopening, you already knew that they were supposed to open “mid to late August” … well, now at least Regal is picking a specific date: August 21.
Furthermore, Tenet, that elusive Christopher Nolan title is scheduled to open internationally first, then in the United States — whatever theaters are open, of course.
Regal’s U.K. parent Cineworld made the announcement on Monday afternoon following Warner Bros. disclosure that it will open Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller “Tenet” in international markets on Aug. 26 with a Sept. 3 launch in the U.S.
The graphic in the article linked above is worth addressing. That graphic states 50-60% capacity of movie theaters are allowed when they open.
We live near the busiest movie theater corridor in the state and there are currently no theaters open here, so that graphic, while looking colorful and good is pretty much worthless.
Have another post written that I’ve been holding onto in draft status that shows how many theaters are in the United States and the % that are open currently. Thought about including that information here, but am holding off until it is closer to the theaters reopening. In this case, that will be around the middle of August. Maybe the data will change for the better by then, so I can show what it was in July and what it’s like in August. The numbers are depressing right now. We all know not many theaters are open in America, save for Drive-ins.
Internationally, theater openings are going better. China just finished up its first reopening weekend and the movie sales cash register is ringing.
Stay tuned. If history is our guide to the future, there will be more release date changes. At least now we know August 21 for Regal in the United States. I hope this date holds. If it’s safe to reopen, of course.
While this might make sense today for Regal, they need to pick a date at some point ASAP. Even if that date needs to be delayed again. Some defined date is better than no date.
Regal had initially planned on reopening on July 10th, in order to release Christopher Nolan’s Tenet on its original July 17th premiere date. Not long after that film got delayed, Regal pushed back its reopening date to July 31st. As of Wednesday morning, the homepage of the Regal website no longer shows July 31st as its grand reopening. Instead, the page explains that a new reopening date will be announced at a later time.
What happens next? Based on what’s already happened and what we know, we can come up with some reasonable guesses.
AMC hasn’t announced if it’s going to delay reopening on July 30, but that’s likely to happen very soon. They’ve been out securing up cash through debt restructuring, so they can stay in business as long as possible. Probably announcing that they aren’t going to reopen as planned isn’t something debtors want to contemplate, which might explain the delay. Regal getting out a little ahead of them doesn’t mean much.
Disney will likely announce plans to push back Mulan. That leaves a very small number of movies left for August with the noteworthy title being Bill & Ted Face The Music. My guess is that is pushed back soon as well, leaving movies that either go straight to VOD, get purchased by Netflix, Amazon or other streaming channels for premiere.
Or a curious new path we haven’t discussed here in much depth yet.
Opening theatrically outside the US first
Hollywood Reporter has a story about Warner Bros. flirting with a Tenet launch that opens first internationally.
Just six weeks ago, it would have been unfathomable to imagine debuting a $200 million tentpole without the entire U.S. moviegoing market in play, led by Los Angeles, New York City, San Francisco and Chicago. But with COVID-19 cases rising in L.A. and cinemas still shut in Gotham, the thinking has changed despite the risk of piracy. On a global basis, a $200 million tentpole such as Tenet would open at the same time in most territories across the world, although China can be a wild card.
The traditional thinking has been to use domestic as an anchor for movie premieres over fear of piracy. Warner Bros. – and probably the financial people — want to see Tenet start making some money back ASAP and the movie theater business overseas is in better shape than the United States.
If August doesn’t have the majority of movie theaters reopened in the US, we’re now looking into September. Wonder Woman 1984 seems like the next title that gets pushed back again or possibly explores an international distribution initially.
Variety, CNBC and others are reporting that Warner Bros. has decided to delay Tenet for the third time.
Warner Bros. has removed “Tenet” from its release calendar, delivering a big blow on the exhibition industry at a time when movie theaters had hoped to peg their re-opening to the late summer debut of Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller.
The next dominoes dropping will likely be the big theater chains delaying their scheduled reopening July 30 (AMC) and July 31 (Regal) and/or Disney pushing back the release date of Mulan, which is currently set for August 21.
We’ve been holding off on the Coming Soon to theaters in August 2020 awaiting this news that wasn’t completely unexpected. We’ll continue to wait longer as more movies planned in August will likely follow suit.