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With Oppenheimer Dominating Oscar Nominations, Christoper Nolan's Tenet Is Also Returning To Movie Theaters, And I’m Hoping It Crushes

 John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in Tenet.
John David Washington and Robert Pattinson in Tenet.

The 2024 Oscars nominations were announced earlier this week, and Oppenheimer dominated amongst the other 2023 movie releases being recognized. Christopher Nolan’s latest feature has been nominated in 13 categories, including Best Picture, Best Director and three of the acting categories, but we have a little over a month to go until we learn how many Oscars it will win, if any at all. In the meantime, the movie Nolan delivered to the masses before Oppenheimer, Tenet (which CinemaBlend rated a perfect 5/5), is heading back to movie theaters, and I’m hoping that it crushes.

Tenet originally opened on September 3, 2020, which was still relatively early into the COVID-19 pandemic, at a time when few movies were opening widely in theaters. Now the John Washington David and Robert Pattinson-led movie is getting a second chance to shine on the big screen. Per THR, Tenet will screen on 70mm IMAX, IMAX, digital and 70mm film screens for one week starting on Friday, February 23 in the United States and select international markets. Tickets are on sale now, and as some extra incentive, the screenings will be accompanied by exclusive footage from Dune: Part Two, which opens a week later on the 2024 release schedule.

I’ll be honest, Tenet is not one of my favorite Christopher Nolan movies. Quite frankly, it ranks towards the bottom of his filmography for me, because even as someone who reads and watches all kinds of time travel stories, I had trouble wrapping my head around how time inversion works and following along with the complex story. Nevertheless, it was a shame to see Tenet’s original theatrical release derailed by the pandemic, with the movie ultimately only a little over $365 million worldwide off a reported $205 million budget, according to The Numbers.

Now obviously I don’t expect Tenet to make anywhere near that amount of money given that it’s only playing in theaters for a week and is easily available to buy on home media or stream with a Max subscription. Still, I’m hoping both Tenet fans and those who’ve missed out on the movie thus far come out in droves to see the limited engagement. It deserves to be seen in a theatrical setting under much better circumstances.

Additionally, THR’s article mentioned that Warner Bros. Pictures Co-Chairs and CEOS Michael Luca and Pamela are hoping that Tenet’s return to theaters will lead to them “luring” Christopher Nolan back to the studio. You may recall that in late 2020, the filmmaker was displeased about WB’s decision to release all its 2021 movies to then-HBO Max on the same day as they opened in theaters. That ultimately led to him taking Oppenheimer to Universal Pictures, and clearly that turned out well.

While I certainly won’t complain if Nolan decides to stick around Universal, the man had a nearly 20-year run at Warner Bros. Packed with successes, including the Dark Knight trilogy and Inception. It would be great if that professional relationship could be revived, and perhaps Tenet’s theatrical return could help pave the way to that happening. For now though, just remember that if Drive-Away Dolls and Ordinary Angels, i.e. the two new movies opening in theaters on February 23, don’t strike your fancy, you’re welcome to check out Tenet between then and the next weekend.

As for Oppenheimer, remember to watch the 96th Academy Awards Sunday, March 10 on ABC to see how it does amongst competition like Killers of the Flower Moon, Poor Things and Maestro, among many others. Christopher Nolan hasn’t announced what movie is making next, but once he does, we’ll let you know.