AT&T CEO John Stankey confirms Christopher Nolan's Tenet will not be going to HBO Max's streaming service before its theatrical release
Tenet will definitely not be released on HBO Max before it is released in theaters. Director Christopher Nolan's last job was supposed to debut earlier this month, but Tenet has been delayed multiple times due to the coronavirus pandemic. After initially delaying it to July 31, Warner Bros. rescheduled Tenet for August 12, but has since withdrawn from the calendar and a new release date will be announced later. There has been talk that Tenet could be released in the rest of the world before hitting theaters in the United States, as the study has considered all options.
Throughout the pandemic, there have been movie titles that have gone straight to VOD and Streaming services, completely omitting the classic theatrical release. That approach has worked very well for films like Trolls World Tour (to be released in theaters in Spain) and Palm Springs, but it has never been considered a viable route for delayed calls to be Hollywood blockbusters. In the past, WB has held its ground, Tenet will receive a proper theatrical release, and the studio reiterated that stance through AT&T CEO John Stankey.
While on a conference call, AT&T CEO John Stankey discussed the possibility of the studio's big-budget productions being released through non-traditional means, specifically HBO Max, and confirmed that it won't happen with Tenet:
"Is it going to happen with a movie like Tenet or something like Wonder Woman? I would be very surprised if that were the case. In fact, I can assure you that with Tenet, that will not be the case. "
This should come as no surprise, especially since Nolan has long been an advocate of the theater experience and has talked about why Tenet demands to be seen on the big screen. But beyond Nolan's personal preferences, streaming Tenet wouldn't be a smart business decision for Warner Bros. The film's production cost $ 200 million before factoring in marketing costs, which means it must have a very fruitful box office to obtain benefits. As much as Warner wants people to watch Tenet, they also don't want to lose money on a sizable investment. HBO Max subscribers may see Tenet "free" after paying a small fee to get the service, which is obviously not the same as people paying for tickets in a movie theater.
WB may always choose to release Tenet on demand and charge a premium price for a rental (or purchase) period, but is not guaranteed to produce the desired results. Although Trolls World Tour reportedly made more profit than its predecessor, an industry marketing representative said it was not as successful as initially believed. That's why movies with modest or low box office potential were streamed in the living rooms, while Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 are being saved for the movies. However, it remains to be seen when those films will be playable in the multiplex, as theaters may remain closed in the US until mid-2021.
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