Christopher Nolan Speaks Out About The Box Office For “Tenet”


Ever since Warner Bros. opted to be the canary in the coal mine and release Tenet exclusively into movie theaters, a lot has been spoken about and written about in terms of the box office. Of course, the film came out in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, so theaters in Los Angeles and New York City are and were closed, so the flick never screened there, leading in part to a depressed financial haul. Now, Christopher Nolan has chimed in, putting his two cents into the mix, after weeks and months of people speaking for the director. You can see some of what he said below…

Via Variety, Nolan spoke to the Los Angeles Times and seems rather satisfied that the global box office is approaching $350 million. Of course, it’s not even half of what Warner Bros. was hoping for, and clearly didn’t allow him to “save cinema” or the theatrical experience, like some presumed. Still, it’s an interesting take from the filmmaker and well worth taking a look at.

From the article at Variety:

Box office results for “Tenet,” Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi epic that was unveiled amid a pandemic, have been heavily scrutinized in the weeks since its release. The film has grossed nearly $350 million globally in two months — prompting debates of whether that’s a disappointing or decent figure during the coronavirus crisis.

Nolan, speaking to the Los Angeles Times to promote film critic Tom Shone’s new book “The Nolan Variations,” says he is “thrilled” by ticket sales for “Tenet.”

“Warner Bros. released ‘Tenet,’ and I’m thrilled that it has made almost $350 million,” Nolan said. However, he expressed concern that other studios haven’t been nearly as enthusiastic. Pandemic or not, “Tenet” fell short of expectations in North America and did little to assure Hollywood that people were ready to return to the movies. In the weeks following its debut, almost every major movie set for 2020 — with the exception of “Wonder Woman 1984,” also from Warner Bros. — was pushed into next year or later.

“I am worried that the studios are drawing the wrong conclusions from our release — that rather than looking at where the film has worked well and how that can provide them with much needed revenue, they’re looking at where it hasn’t lived up to pre-COVID 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, in other words,” Nolan said.

Stay tuned for more on Tenet…

(Source: Variety and the Los Angeles Times)

About Joey Magidson

A graduate of Stony Brook University (where he studied Cinema and Cultural Studies), resides in Brooklyn, New York. He contributes to several other film-related websites and is a member of the Broadcast Film Critics Association.

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