April 17th, 2020 / 2 Comments

Robert Pattinson Tenet Could be Hollywood’s Canary in a Coal Mine


Now that we are 3 months away from Tenet’s scheduled opening, Scott Mendelson from Forbes talks about how it could be a test case to see how social distancing and the cinema experience may survive COVID-19. Below is an excerpt:

… we are three months away from the opening night (counting Thursday previews) of Chris Nolan’s Tenet. Amid a flurry of date changes, reschedulings and indefinite delays, Warner Bros. has not yet budged with its ambitious and expensive action thriller, keeping the film on the studio’s and the director’s favorite mid-July launch date. This could change at any moment, but for now, John David Washington/Robert Pattinson flick is positioned to be the first major wide theatrical release of the “starting late” summer 2020 season. If this goes through, Tenet could be Hollywood’s canary in the coal mine.

If audiences are going to go back to theaters, it’ll have to be for something that’s excessively anticipated. Chris Nolan’s original, $200 million time-travelling spy actioner would arguably fit the bill. Nolan has been established as a franchise/brand unto himself, Inception ($830 million in 2010) and Interstellar ($677 million in 2014) and Dunkirk ($527 million in 2017) scored top-tier box office sans brands or, via Dunkirk (a $100 million World War II flick) star power. Not only is it an ideal “you must see this in theaters” offering, but the very thing that makes Tenet even more of a risk in this “new normal” also makes it an ideal guinea pig.

However, Tenet’s existence as a non-franchise/IP flick means that audiences don’t show up in expected numbers, there’s nothing at stake beyond the singular success of a singular film. There’s no brand to be damaged, or franchise to be undercut like, for example, an under-performing Black Widow or No Time to Die.

Chris Nolan’s Tenet would make for an ideal test case presuming North America and/or the rest of the world is ready to try and get back into theaters. It’s an extremely anticipated would-be blockbuster that was expected, before the current madness, to be one of the year’s biggest domestic and global grossers. But it’s also a pure original, disconnected with any IP or franchise designs. As such, its success would be an unmitigated win while its potential failure wouldn’t sink an ongoing brand or franchise. We are now three months from the scheduled opening night for Nolan’s time-traveling thriller. Either way, “time runs out” on July 17.

  • sue
    Posted on April 17, 2020

    Interesting read.
    Also, love the new look of RPAU – well done Ladies!

  • Maria
    Posted on April 18, 2020

    Thanks Sue – hope you are keeping well and safe *hugs*

  • Leave a Reply

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