The 2020 Summer blockbuster season rests on the shoulders of director Christopher Nolan’s upcoming science fiction thriller Tenet. At the moment, while other studios have shoved their film releases into Winter or 2021, Warner Bros is standing firm (for now) and unflinching in the face of the worst epidemic of the century.
At stake, say entertainment players and analysts, is nothing short of the nation’s preeminent form of public entertainment.
“If ‘Tenet’ doesn’t come out or doesn’t succeed, every other company goes home,” said a marketing executive from a rival studio who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the news media. “It’s no movies until Christmas.”
Pretty bold statement with very real and probable implications.
Per Washington Post:
Experts describe two fundamentally different visions of what the next few months will look like.
In one, audiences eager to leave the house after months of isolation pour in (social distantly) to see the Nolan film, which appears to focus on an agent attempting to prevent a global catastrophe (plot specifics remain, unsurprisingly, vague). Every auditorium is filled with “Tenet” moviegoers; many theaters stay open late to accommodate them. Other studio films, such as “Mulan” and “Wonder Woman 1984,” then follow. The summer consigns the spring quarantines to a place of surreal memory.
The other scenario is bleaker: Continued covid-19 fears either prompt Warner Bros. to delay “Tenet” or consumers to stay away, resulting in a flop. Other studios that have been cautiously scheduling post-“Tenet” releases pull their movies. The summer turns out to look just like spring — “new” entertainment means old Netflix shows and “going out” is a euphemism for walking around the block.
Like the spinning top at the end of “Inception,” even close observers don’t know which way this could go.
“In some respects opening this movie in July seems like a very smart move because the landscape is so wide open,” said Ira Deutchman, a longtime veteran of film distribution and exhibition, referring to the lack of other major movies. “But anyone who says they know what is going to happen is lying.”
“Tenet,” he and others note, is ideally built to jolt consumers back into moviegoing. It’s an intriguing premise from one of the most financially successful filmmakers in history opening in theaters with zero serious competition.
That gives experts hope — and also makes them think that if “Tenet” can’t work, nothing will.
One major aspect however that Tenet has going for it is an audience of people who are dying to go out and do anything that gets them out of the house. Quarantine life has outlived it’s welcome amongst citizens who want to desperately leave their home. Only question is, will they? And if they do, will WB reward them with one of the most highly anticipated films of this Summer? Only time will tell…