Will there be a summer box office? Ask ‘Tenet’

The film’s July release will either save 2020 movies -- or condemn them.


May 26, 2020

No one is under more pressure right now than Christopher Nolan.

The director of “The Dark Knight” and “Inception” plans to drop his mind-bendy new film “Tenet” on July 17 — and Hollywood is counting on it to usher people back into theaters.

The thought is this: If an original film from a beloved director and an outspoken theater advocate can’t get people into the seats this summer, nothing can.

One executive told The Washington Post, “If ‘Tenet’ doesn’t come out or doesn’t succeed, every other company goes home. It’s no movies until Christmas.”

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The summer season may be left on ice

Warner Bros. says it needs at least 80% of the world’s movie theaters to open for “Tenet” to recoup its $200m budget. But with big markets like New York City showing no signs of reopening, that seems unlikely.

So what happens if “Tenet” doesn’t come out? The next blockbuster on the docket is Disney’s live-action “Mulan” (July 24), followed by “Wonder Woman 1984” less than a month later.

But if “Tenet” runs for the hills, the other tentpole movies probably will, too.

Desperate to go to the theater? You have a few other options

Some small-time releases are slated to hit theaters before the big “Tenet” debut.

A small distributor has a Russell Crowe road-rage film called “Unhinged” in the queue for July 1. A day later, the military flick “The Outpost” is coming out in much of the US.

While you’ve been sighing through Netflix reruns on your family room couch, your hip friends have been rolling up to the drive-in.

One of the biggest films in America is an indie horror movie called “The Wretched” — and since its May 1 release, it has netted a whopping… $548k+ in drive-in earnings. Great news: That’s about as much as a small popcorn and two large sodas costs at the theater these days.

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