When it comes to a believer in the theatrical experience, Christopher Nolan might be at the top of the list. At the moment, it's debatable whether or not Nolan's insistence on releasing Tenet in theaters despite the pandemic was a good thing or a bad thing, but it is a thing that happened, and Nolan's motives seemed pure enough. He saw that movie theaters and the theatrical experience was hurting, and he wanted to save them. Or at least help be a catalyst for keeping them alive. However, it seems that Tenet underperforming was likely one of the reasons that Warner Bros. decided to have their entire 2021 slate come out in theaters and on HBO Max. Entertainment Tonight got the chance to speak to Nolan about the decision, and he's not a happy camper.
Oh, I mean, disbelief. Especially the way in which they did. There's such controversy around it, because they didn't tell anyone. In 2021, they've got some of the top filmmakers in the world, they've got some of the biggest stars in the world who worked for years in some cases on these projects very close to their hearts that are meant to be big-screen experiences. They're meant to be out there for the widest possible audiences… And now they're being used as a loss-leader for the streaming service — for the fledgling streaming service — without any consultation. So, there's a lot of controversy. It's very, very, very, very messy. A real bait and switch. Yeah, it's sort of not how you treat filmmakers and stars and people who, these guys have given a lot for these projects. They deserved to be consulted and spoken to about what was going to happen to their work.
Ever since Nolan did his Batman trilogy, Warner Bros. has been bending over backward to keep him happy. Most of the time, it works out really well, and you get massive hits like Inception and Dunkirk out of it. However, this move and Nolan coming out against it, along with the rumored legal action that Legendary might be taking, could indicate that this decision might have needed more time to marinate. It's December, sure, and there are movies as early as January that could be part of this service, but they could have delayed that January release to make sure that everyone was on board with this. It's going to be interesting to see what kind of reactions continue to come out of the film community about this decision. The fact of the matter is the pandemic is worse now than it was when Tenet came out in the fall, so a movie theater is the last place any of us should be, no matter what Nolan or anyone else thinks. While the rest of the world is fighting their second wave of COVID-19, the United States failed to get its collective shit together, and here we are still in the middle of the first wave that never ended. While Warner Bros. putting their entire 2021 slate on HBO Max might have been a bit of an overreaction, putting something like Wonder Woman 1984 on there was not. Stay home and watch Wonder Woman 1984 in the safety of your home, wear a mask, and stop acting like idiots.
Tenet, directed by Christopher Nolan, stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clémence Poésy, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh. It will be available to own on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and digital on December 15th.