Christopher Nolan breaks silence over Tenet box office 'failure'

Susannah Alexander
·2-min read
Photo credit: Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Warner Bros.

From Digital Spy

Christopher Nolan has spoken out about the box office performance of his latest blockbuster movie Tenet, saying that studios have drawn the "wrong conclusions".

The Inception and The Dark Knight director spoke to The Los Angeles Times alongside film critic Tom Shone about Shone's new book The Nolan Variations: The Movies, Mysteries, and Marvels of Christopher Nolan, and about how they see the outlook for movies in the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Nolan revealed that he thinks some people have 'ignored' the success of 2019 for cinema, saying that we now need to consider "the new reality we're living in" and adding that he is "worried" that studios aren't looking at Tenet's box office performance properly in the context of the pandemic.

Photo credit: Melinda Sue Gordon - Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Melinda Sue Gordon - Warner Bros.

Related: Tenet explained – delving into the ending of Christopher Nolan's spy thriller

The movie was released at a time when many cinemas worldwide were closed completely, including in some major markets like New York City and Los Angeles, while others were operating at a reduced capacity.

Since Tenet's release – which had itself been delayed – many other blockbusters have had their release dates further delayed, including Wonder Woman 1984, James Bond's No Time To Die and Marvel's Black Widow.

Nolan revealed that he has been pleased by Tenet's commercial performance, saying that studios should be looking at where the film succeeded.

"Warner Bros released Tenet, and I'm thrilled that it has made almost $350 million," he said.

Photo credit: Melinda Sue Gordon - Warner Bros.
Photo credit: Melinda Sue Gordon - Warner Bros.

Related: Tenet 2 – could a sequel from Christopher Nolan actually happen?

"But I am worried that the studios are drawing the wrong conclusions from our release – that rather than looking at where the film has worked well and how that can provide them with much needed revenue, they're looking at where it hasn’t lived up to pre-COVID expectations and will start using that as an excuse to make exhibition and take all the losses from the pandemic instead of getting in the game and adapting – or rebuilding our business, in other words."

He added that he is hopeful that cinema can survive the pandemic in the long term, saying: "Moviegoing is a part of life, like restaurants and everything else. But right now, everybody has to adapt to a new reality."

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