Releasing ‘Tenet’: Of Many Bad Options, This One Is the Best

Releasing ‘Tenet’: Of Many Bad Options, This One Is the Best
Film distribution faces the same business challenges as any other industry in 2020. Everyone is confronted with a set of worst-case scenarios that previously existed only in Mba classrooms — the kind of outrageous tests meant to tax candidates’ abilities to think outside the box. The range of solutions often come down to those that are the least bad: Which will lose the least money, and will be consistent with a company’s core business interests and long-term strategies?

That’s where Warner Bros. stands as it grapples with how to release Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet.” The long-anticipated summer release is burdened not only with the challenge of grossing enough to lead to an eventual profit, but also with an outsized role that Nolan eagerly embraced: It’s the film that’s meant to save theaters.

Nolan’s film would need to gross $800 million worldwide in order to break even in theaters.
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