Plot details of "Tenet," which stars John David Washington and Robert Pattinson, have been kept mostly secret. Trailers have displayed Nolan's striking visual style and intense action, and his penchant for playing with time and physics. The film's title itself is a palindrome.
Nolan, who is said to have an unusual level of influence over when his movies are released, has been a vocal champion for theaters during the streaming-video era, and that has only increased during the coronavirus crisis. In March, Nolan penned a Washington Post op-ed calling on Congress and movie studios to support theaters during the threat.
"When this crisis passes, the need for collective human engagement, the need to live and love and laugh and cry together, will be more powerful than ever," Nolan wrote in the piece.
Many exhibitors are worried that the extended shutdowns will do long-term harm to their business model. Several studios have decided to forgo theatrical releases for certain movies during the pandemic and put them directly onto streaming services and video-on-demand sites. Exhibitors have long decried efforts by studios to tamper with the theatrical window, or the average 90-day gap between a movie's release in cinemas and on home video.
Universal Pictures released "Trolls World Tour" to strong online sales of $95 million in three weeks, leading NBCUniversal CEO Jeff Shell to declare that the studio would pursue similar releases even after coronavirus. AMC Theatres said it would no longer play Universal's movies, in response to Shell's comments.
Warner Bros. on May 15 launched its new animated movie, "Scoob," a Scooby-Doo origin story, for digital rental and purchase.
But no matter when "Tenet" is released, one thing's certain: It will be in theaters.
"He is Mr. Cinema," Robbins said of Nolan. "I don't think there's a bigger advocate for seeing movies in a theater."
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