How is Christopher Nolan Trying to Save Theaters?

Tenet
Tenet is scheduled to hit theaters in July and Nolan is doing everything in his power to help theaters open for it.

Christopher Nolan is a huge proponent of filmmakers and theatrical releases. He has shot on film, pushed 70mm, and delivered some of the most epic stories of our generation. 

His newest film, Tenet, is set to release on July 17th in IMAX and regular theaters. 

But they might not be open. 

Pushing the film is certainly a possibility since no one can predict the future, but Nolan is working tirelessly to help that not happen. 

The CEO of IMAX,  Richard Gelfond told Variety, “Chris really would like to be coming out with the film that opens theaters. I don’t know anyone in America who is pushing harder to get the theaters re-opened and to get his movie released than Chris Nolan.”

Tenet is the movie Hollywood hopes reopens its doors. It's by an acclaimed filmmaker, has an all-star cast, and is the summer blockbuster everyone is hoping rights the ship. It's also an international film; Nolan shot the movie in 7 countries across the globe. He told Entertainment Weekly, “We’re jumping off from the point of view of an espionage film, but we’re going to a number of different places,” Nolan said. “We’re crossing a few different genres in a hopefully exciting and fresh way. [Producer] Emma [Thomas] and I have put together a lot of large-scale productions, but this is certainly the biggest in terms of international reach. We shot in seven countries, all over the place, with a massive cast and huge set pieces. There’s no question, it’s the most ambitious film we’ve made.”

Can that ambition echo outside of the actual film and into its distribution? 

There’s no way Warner Bros. will abandon a theatrical release and put the film on VOD like Universal did with Trolls World Tour, so what's the plan? 

Aside from "pushing", what else can Nolan do? 

John Fithian, CEO of the National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO), laid out new guidelines that theaters will use to ensure a safe theatrical experience. 

But we still don't have a date for national openings, and it seems unlikely movies like Tenet will return if 50% of the audience doesn't have the movie playing in their hometown. 

Still, only time will tell what happens. 

Hopefully, the world gets this crisis solved so we can all enjoy the summer movie season in theaters and not in our homes.      

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7 Comments

I want to see this movie as bad as anyone, but Nolan's dreaming. Soon as they start to relax restrictions, there will be a surge of cases and another shutdown. This will continue for a year to two years. And theatres will be half empty for years after that.

May 1, 2020 at 1:10PM

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Batutta
599

Months sure, but I doubt it will be years. Unless you're actually from the future... someone sent to warn NFS readers of "the shift" AKA when theaters died.

May 2, 2020 at 3:27AM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1847

July may be a bit ambitious but I'm glad we have someone like Nolan to remind of us of the importance and relevance of theatrical viewing.

May 2, 2020 at 3:32AM

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You voted '-1'.
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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1847

An ambitious film for Nolan would be one which had a female role...

May 3, 2020 at 3:06AM

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keith
437

Take this theorizing with a grain of salt, but what if the theatrical model has to go back in time a bit to when movies played in theaters for up to a year before hitting video/tv?

We take for granted that a movie will be released on VOD less than four months after its theatrical release when most movies would take their sweet time (hell, Jurassic Park took an entire YEAR!). Movies like Tenet were built for theatrical screenings and Nolan has the power to keep it there as long as it needs to be to become profitable.

Like everything else, the theatrical experience as we knew it is over. But maybe it can be salvaged. If anything, I think we've seen the last of non-event movies getting a theatrical run. From here on out, I expect the theatrical experience to be pure spectacle while the more "low key" movies (dramas, kids movies, thrillers, some horror, comedies, etc.) will go straight to VOD.

May 3, 2020 at 1:27PM

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James Couche
Independent Filmmaker
194

No movie is worth dying for at the theater, well unless you include Swingers which changed my life or Pulp Fiction.

May 5, 2020 at 7:20PM

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Rex
87

You should have more faith in movies. People won't give up the theatrical experience so easily, this is temporary.

May 2, 2020 at 3:24AM

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Stephen Herron
Writer/Director
1847