One of the most bankable names in the film industry gets delayed indefinitely.
In 2017, Warner Brothers released Christopher Nolan’s WWII “Dunkirk” into 3,720 theaters, collecting $50.5 million in its debut, taking the #1 spot at the box office and cementing Nolan as one of the most bankable names in the film industry right now, but amid the coronavirus pandemic, the $200 million tentpole did not get a conventional release, and with the U.S. being the largest movie market in the world, where huge blockbusters like Tenet can generate up to two-thirds of their total box office haul from the international market, it’s understandable what’s at stake for the behemoth that is trying to take on the Marvel and Disney slam dunks.
Digital-only releases like Hamilton on Disney+ are a success. Just on Independence Day weekend, analytics firm Apptopia noted that the Disney Plus streaming service was downloaded (at least via smartphones) 752,451 worldwide and 458,796 in North America over the Fri-Sun frame after Hamilton was released, a 74% jump domestically and +46.6% worldwide from the average over the four weekends of June of 2020. That is why some see the digital option as the no-brainer option, but with Christopher Nolan being a champion of theatrical release strategies and the experience it brings, Warner Bros. is not likely to adopt a digital release for Tenet, and disappoint its money-maker, which features a cast led by John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Kenneth Branagh and Michael Caine.