The COVID-19 pandemic has completely upended life as we know it, with the fate of multiple major industries currently up in the air. One of the most speculated-about elements has been the movie industry, with nearly all theaters not operational despite some state stay-at-home orders beginning to be lifted. The list of blockbusters that are set to still debut this year is evolving on a day-to-day basis, with Christopher Nolan's Tenet still holding one of the earliest release dates. According to a new report from Variety, Nolan is choosing to be optimistic about whether or not his film can still open on its planned July 17th release date, in part because he and some of the industry see it as the spark to reignite interest in the moviegoing experience.
“Chris really would like to be coming out with the film that opens theaters,” IMAX CEO Richard Gelfond said on a recent earnings call. “I don’t know anyone in America who is pushing harder to get the theaters reopened and to get his movie released than Chris Nolan.”
That passion is certainly no secret to diehard fans of the director, as Nolan has championed the moviegoing experience - as well as the art of film projection - throughout the years. In late March, Nolan penned an op-ed for The Washington Post arguing that movie theaters are "a vital part of social life", and must not be cast aside in a post-pandemic world.
"Movie theaters have gone dark, and will stay that way for a time," Nolan writes in the op-ed. "But movies, unlike unsold produce or unearned interest, don’t cease to be of value. Much of this short-term loss is recoverable. 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. The combination of that pent-up demand and the promise of new movies could boost local economies and contribute billions to our national economy. We don’t just owe it to the 150,000 workers of this great American industry to include them in those we help, we owe it to ourselves. We need what movies can offer us."
While Nolan's optimism is unbelievably admirable, there's the question of whether or not his hopes for Tenet will actually become a reality. Even if more and more movie theaters could safely begin to reopen by July, there's the question of whether or not general audiences would be comfortable enough to trek out to the movie theater. Given the fact that Tenet only released one trailer so far (and an IMAX-exclusive preview of footage) this past December, it could also be a case of general audiences not being aware of the film just yet. With Tenet reportedly boasting a budget of $200 million, the idea of it potentially only being able to open in select markets - or of not finding the audience that the film deserves - is definitely risky.