If you’re the type to keep track of these things – and we definitely are! – then you would have been pensively scouring the net for any word on director Christopher Nolan’s Tenet lately. A new film from the super-secretive filmmaker always draws plenty of rabid attention, but the upcoming sci-fi thriller blockbuster has an additional burden to shoulder: It has become the proverbial canary in the Hollywood film industry’s mine.
When the COVID-19 pandemic first hit big, film studios hastily reshuffled their release calendars as cinemas around the world closed down. But as we got announcements of movie delays every other day, Warner Bros was eerily silent on Tenet which was kept in its original 17 July release slot even as the studio held back other major productions like Wonder Woman 1984.
Late last week though, unconfirmed reports started emerging that WB had set themselves a benchmark: If 80% of cinemas in major markets around the world looked like they would reopen by then, Tenet’s release date would stay in place. And if that were to happen and Tenet actually went on to make good money, it would not be surprising to see a flood of announcements as previously delayed movies suddenly got bumped forward again to occupy slots on the currently almost-barren summer blockbuster landscape. In short, Tenet could be the film to either make or break the 2020 film industry.
That’s a crapload of responsibility for a single production and in typical Chris Nolan fashion, whether or not Tenet will do it is being kept a mystery for now. A new trailer dropped this morning (debuting first in Fortnite, of all places because clearly Nolan wants his grand artistic spectacle experienced on a tiny screen inside of a videogame!) and while it looks utterly, jaw-droppingly incredible, it frustratingly has no release date. Instead, we merely get a promise that it will release in theatres. Urgh! I want this movie in my eyeballs now, damn it!
John David Washington is the new Protagonist in Christopher Nolan’s original sci-fi action spectacle “Tenet.” Armed with only one word—Tenet—and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real-time. Not time travel. Inversion.
Ok, so I guess “inversion” is this year’s “inception” when it comes to sci-fi blockbuster buzzwords then? At least we now know it’s not time travel but rather “reversing the flow of time”… or “communicating with the future”… or something. It’s a Chris Nolan movie, don’t expect answers until you’re in the cinema. And maybe not even then.
Either way, it’s looking flat out spectacular and is Nolan’s most ambitious production to date as it reportedly cost over $200 million to make – making it one of the most expensive non-franchise films ever – and was shot across seven different countries. Nolan has also claimed that it will hop between genres (it’s been described as a “quantum cold war thriller”) as much as mind-blowing setpieces. And he’s assembled one seriously stacked cast to do it all, led by John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, supported by Keneth Branagh, Elizabeth Debicki, Clémence Poésy, Michael Caine, and Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
On top of cinematographer Hoyt van Hoytema on the team, Nolan frequent collaborator and musical genius Hans Zimmer will also be teaming up with The Mandalorian’s breakout composer Ludwig Goransson to score the film. Because apparently this film wasn’t already appealing enough!
Last Updated: May 22, 2020