Moviegoers have mixed reactions to the latest Tenet trailer ending with firm confirmation the Christopher Nolan-directed sci-fi thriller is coming to theaters as most movie chains remain shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic. The revealing new trailer released Thursday — offering fresh looks at the film's explosive action and twisty plot led by an international cast of stars, including John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clémence Poésy, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh — did not include the film's currently scheduled opening date of July 17 following reports studio Warner Bros. is waiting until early June to decide whether to push Tenet to the August 14 date held by Wonder Woman 1984.
According to a recent report from Deadline, at least 80% of the world's theaters must be open for Warner Bros. to release Tenet into theaters on July 17 as planned. That includes pivotal theaters in three areas — Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York — as part of the required 3,500 reopened theaters across the U.S. and another 30,000-plus screens worldwide, according to the report.
A source close to the studio reports the $200 million Tenet moves and delays the Wonder Woman sequel if theaters don't show positive signs of reopening around the first week of June. Some theaters in recent weeks declared plans — or hopes — of reopening by July, in time for Tenet and Disney’s live-action Mulan releasing a week later on July 24.
A Nevada-based sociologist and professor recently predicted the moviegoing experience won't be enough for audiences to return to theaters despite the allure of Tenet, currently leading the charge as the first tentpole movie of the summer.
"I think people are going to be hesitant for a while," Michael Ian Borer told the Las Vegas Review Journal. "It's going to have to be pitched to them that it's worth it to get out, see this together, see it on the big screen. I don't know what that movie looks like. If I did, I'd be making a lot more money right now."
Some of those potential moviegoers are instead calling for Warner Bros. to make Tenet the next film released directly to digital via premium video on demand, but a veteran industry analyst explained why Tenet and other big-budgeted movies won't be skipping theaters:
"Unless there is a drastic setback from current plans to gradually reopen cinemas, I wouldn't bet on [digital releases]," Shawn Robbins, chief analyst at Boxoffice.com, told CNN Business. "The blockbusters remaining on the schedule have too much dependency on box office revenue."
Jeff Bock, a senior analyst at entertainment research firm Exhibitor Relations, told CNN that Nolan, a noted believer in the theatergoing experience, would push back against Warner Bros. should the studio decide to release his made-for-IMAX feature directly to digital platforms.
"Unless aliens possess his frontal lobe, Nolan will not cave to the cries of digital," Bock said. "And if Warner Bros. decides digital is the right move, he'll likely never work with them again."
That "Coming to Theaters" tag in the Tenet trailer seems almost defiant. Christopher Nolan don't play.— Tyler Talley (@tylertalley22) May 22, 2020
What a way to end the trailer.— Yolanda be cool! (@stewiegriffind9) May 22, 2020
"coming to theaters"
It will be a great disservice to the #TENET if we watched the movie in any other way than IMAX.
Tenet: COMING TO THEATERS— PLAY LOTTO HERE (@MOOTZAADELL) May 22, 2020
Hey Chris Nolan, Coming to Theaters sounds like a threat.
Coming to Theaters 2021 perhaps? pic.twitter.com/Qsn0nEoTfG— Bob Mori (@BobMori) May 22, 2020
Bold of Nolan to announce not a release date, but that Tenet is coming to theaters. A movie to die for! https://t.co/q1aPYygF24— Samantha BB from home (@KitsuneCloset) May 22, 2020
Everything about this trailer was dope except for the "Coming to Theaters" part. Not really sure I'm inclined to go out to one anytime in the next year. https://t.co/C22E2Qi6dX— Nerf Herder (@papi_pingu) May 22, 2020
Coming to theaters? pic.twitter.com/8W9CyeIxNJ— a bear (@tekeous) May 22, 2020
Love the Tenet trailer, buuuuuuut…
Pretty damn tough to get me excited about something “coming to theaters” right now.— ShaKen, Not Stirred (@Stoltzken) May 22, 2020
Coming to theaters?? Really? Idk who is willing to go sit in a theatre anytime soon. Certainly not me. Just stream it from the start. That's the future of movies anyways— Robert Joiner (@Robert_Joiner76) May 22, 2020
The man said COMING. TO. THEATERS. So that is where I shall be. 🤞🏿🙏🏿 https://t.co/xZpCr0vWIW— Miss Simone (@SimplySimone_) May 22, 2020
I SAW COMING TO THEATERS AND I GOT A HUGE RUSH OF EXCITEMENT 😢 I MISS THE MOVIES— Bonita Applebum 🇨🇴 (@atribecalledval) May 22, 2020
The best part about the Tenet trailer is the part where it said "Coming to theaters".
I think I felt my heart skip a beat, I can't contain my excitement to get back into a theater.— Brian Murray (@Murricane1014) May 22, 2020
The “COMING TO THEATERS” at the end of the trailer hit a little different this time https://t.co/kf5aJBXNK3— Raul Rodriguez (@Raul_XC1) May 22, 2020
When you see “Coming to Theaters” from the Tenet trailer: pic.twitter.com/DwmbXF9DLM— The Weekdy (@gringo_mijo) May 22, 2020
The best part of the trailer was the "coming to theaters" bit. Damnnnnn so hyped https://t.co/ARebl9IrWC— Jan Josef Licudan (@jjlicudan) May 22, 2020
When “coming to theaters” is the most dramatic tag.— Stoop Kid (@Rhynocuros) May 22, 2020
That said. I’m fucking in https://t.co/OAgH2KbGw1
Me when it said COMING TO THEATERS at the very end pic.twitter.com/5ArDOqcpTs— Looks Like Silence (@Dumbuglyloser) May 22, 2020
the "coming to theaters" stinger at the end is so extra lmao https://t.co/bg4IkaSwgv— Will (@SilentDawnLB) May 22, 2020
I’m in day 0. Just hopefully not in a theatre! Let me stay home and watch :( pic.twitter.com/iJdlM73u75— JP (@itmeJP) May 22, 2020
The overly dramatic “COMING TO THEATERS” line at the end of the new Tenet trailer comes across like a goddamn threat.
I’ll, uh, see your movie on VOD, thanks! Not a chance I’m headed to a crowded movie theater with recirculated air anytime soon?— Patrick Klepek (@patrickklepek) May 22, 2020
The switch from “July 17th” to “Coming to Theaters” just made every film booker and programmer slam their head against a desk in unison. pic.twitter.com/EH9l1ukh9v— Andrew (@jupin) May 22, 2020
Tenet is scheduled to open only in theaters July 17.