The New Trailer for Christoper Nolan’s “Tenet” Offers More Questions Than Answers

To start: When is this not-quite-time-travel movie going to be released?

Actor John David Washington in Christopher Nolan's "Tenet"
A new trailer for Christopher Nolan's new film "Tenet" debuted on "Fortnite."
Warner Bros.
By Kirk Miller / May 22, 2020 12:59 pm

“Time travel.”

“No. Inversion.”

Well, now we sort of know what Christopher Nolan’s epic new film Tenet is about. It’s more the how and when that still have us in the dark. A new trailer for the movie debuted this week in the online game Fortnite because that’s something we do in 2020.

But also part of the new reality? We really don’t know when Tenet is coming out. According to The Verge, the trailer for the Warner Bros. film initially dropped without a release date, but then July 17 was added back into the flick’s marketing materials. And holding to that date in the midst of a pandemic and cinema closings is being seen as a “litmus test” for big-screen films; with so much uncertainty due to COVID-19, many studio films have already moved out of summer and into fall, winter or even next year, even go so far as to debut on video-on-demand (don’t expect this route for a $190 million film).

“Even though it’s not a Marvel or ‘Star Wars’ movie, it’s still contingent on having a worldwide footprint,” Shawn Robbins, an analyst at BoxOffice.com, told the Los Angeles Times. “The sheer risk is in the daily news changing. That puts the studio in a really difficult situation.”

If cinemas do open but require social distancing with seating,  Tenet might have the advantage of being the only new film around and something big enough that would entice people to see it on a big screen.

As for now, it’s best just to watch the trailer at home and attempt to decipher the film’s plot. One thing’s for sure — John David Washington’s lead character sums up the movie’s predicament and release problem succinctly: “To do this, I need to understand the threat we face.”

Currently, that might not be possible.

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