Is 'Tenet' a commercial failure? Christopher Nolan offers his insights

Shubham Dasgupta
·2-min read


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05 Nov 2020: Is 'Tenet' a commercial failure? Christopher Nolan offers his insights

Christopher Nolan has finally spoken up on the box office performance of Tenet, which had Robert Pattinson, John David Washington and Elizabeth Debicki in lead roles.

While expressing his happiness about the film's collection till date, the ace director wondered why critics wouldn't assess its performance in total consideration of the COVID-19 pandemic's catastrophic effect on the business scenario across the world.

Reaction: Nolan is happy with 'Tenet's performance, worried about studios' versions

"Warner Bros. released Tenet, and I'm thrilled that it has made almost $350 million. But I am worried that the studios are drawing the wrong conclusions from our release," Nolan said.

He explained that instead of rebuilding the new normal for Hollywood, critics and rival studios are hammering on the fact that Tenet, released during the pandemic, couldn't match the pre-pandemic box office expectations.

Fact: Focus should be on "getting in the game, rebuilding business"

"They're looking at where it hasn't lived up to pre-COVID-19 expectations and will start using that as an excuse to make exhibition take all the losses from the pandemic instead of getting in the game and adapting — or rebuilding our business," Nolan said.

Statistics: Reason: New York, LA and San Francisco theaters were shut

Tenet's global revenue stands at $347.1mn as of the November 1 update.

Since its overseas release on August 26, the film fared far better outside the US and has garnered $293mn, against a significantly low domestic revenue of $53.8mn.

The film ran in US at a time when New York, LA and San Francisco theaters were shut, so that's a huge chunk lost.

Fact: Rivals say 'Tenet' will lose $100mn, Warner disputes claim

Tenet was made on a $200mn budget and has lost millions in campaigning due to several release delays. Warner Bros says its loss won't cross $50mn, contrary to claims by rival studios, which say that the sci-fi is set to lose as much as $100mn.

Says Nolan: "2019 was the biggest year for theatrical films in history"

Responding to questions about cinema's future while promoting Tom Shone's biography on Nolan, the director drew attention to how profitable 2019 was for Hollywood.

"If you're talking about the acceleration of existing trends, that's something I started reading right at the beginning of the pandemic. And it ignores the reality that 2019 was the biggest year for theatrical films in history," Nolan said.