The last few months have been undoubtedly frustrating for Christopher Nolan fans, who’ve witnessed the release of his latest, highly-anticipated blockbuster Tenet face multiple delays due to COVID-19.
While the fantasy thriller was meant to be the standout event of a crowded summer for cinemas, it looks as if it will instead be marking the re-opening of many screens as lockdown restrictions continue to ease.
Tenet is now set to debut in late August for UK viewers, and while we can’t be certain that it won’t face further delays, the good news is that tickets are now available to buy for showings of the film in Vue and Cineworld cinemas – so snap them up while you can!
For the rest of the world, Tenet’s launch will be staggered in certain parts of the US in early September, and China at a date to be determined.
There had previously been doubt over whether Chinese authorities would allow Tenet to be released, after issuing guidelines stating that cinemas should only exhibit films clocking in at two hours or under.
However, it appears there is some flexibility to this rule as Tenet has been confirmed for the country, albeit perhaps not until relatively late in its worldwide rollout.
Although Warner Bros has given little away regarding plot, we know Tenet follows the Protagonist – a secret agent battling to prevent World War Three.
Here’s everything we know so far about Tenet.
When is Tenet’s release date?
Tenet is currently scheduled for release in the UK on Wednesday 26th August, but you would be wise to take these plans with a grain of salt.
After all, the mysterious sci-fi film has had several release dates so far and could very well be pushed back again if cases of coronavirus begin to rise.
The much-anticipated blockbuster was originally scheduled for release on 17th July, making it the first big-budget movie to arrive in cinemas post-coronavirus.
Unsurprisingly the movie was pushed back to 12th August in light of cinemas re-opening later than expected, before being pulled again due to continued uncertainty.
It has now emerged that Warner Bros will experiment with a staggered release strategy, dropping the film in certain countries deemed lower risk, while delaying it in the places that remain badly affected.
“We are not treating Tenet like a traditional global day-and-date release, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that,” said Toby Emmerich, chairman of the studio’s Pictures Group.
Warner Bros is hoping that fans will feel confident enough to return to the cinema for Tenet, as the film has a huge production budget to recoup.
Social-distancing measures in UK cinemas are expected to include one-way queuing systems, calls for viewers to frequently wash their hands and for food not to be shared.
How can I book tickets to see Tenet?
UK cinema chains Vue and Cineworld are now selling tickets for showings of Tenet, ahead of its opening on 26th August.
Is there a trailer for Tenet?
The first Tent trailer was first shown exclusively in cinemas, before finally making its way online in December 2019. Since then, its racked up more than 20 million views, showing anticipation is high.
A second trailer premiered on Fortnite in May 2020, although notably it doesn’t include a release date, prompting suspicion that Tenet could be delayed if cinemas have not completely reopened following the coronavirus pandemic.
What does Tenet mean?
Tenet is “a principle or belief, especially one of the main principles of a religion or philosophy,” according to Google.
Of course, the word itself may not actually have relevance on the plot of the movie. Rather, it could well be something completely random that Nolan is using to throw us off the scent.
Interestingly, Tenet is a palindrome i.e. a word that reads the same backwards as it does forwards. Given that the film plays around with time travel, including by showing action sequences in reverse, this could come into play at some point…
Follow the link for a spoiler-ific explanation of what Tenet means.
Who is in the cast of Tenet?
Nolan’s films have historically featured top Hollywood stars and Tenet is no exception, with its cast including both Nolan regulars and first-time collaborators.
The leading role will be played by rising star John David Washington, best known for his role in Spike Lee’s awards contender BlacKkKlansman. He is also the son of Hollywood royalty, Denzel Washington.
Co-starring alongside him is Robert Pattinson, whose career has seen a meteoric rise lately thanks to acclaimed indie fare like The Lighthouse and, of course, his inheritance of the iconic Batman role.
Amongst those returning to work with the director are Michael Caine (who has featured in five Nolan films) and Kenneth Branagh, who played a key role in Dunkirk.
What is Tenet about?
Good question! The plot for Tenet has been kept very quiet, as tends to be the case for a Christopher Nolan film, but we do know a few scarce details.
“Armed with only one word—Tenet—and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time,” says the film’s official synopsis.
Yes indeed, Tenet looks set to play with the laws of time in new and interesting ways, dealing with a concept known as time inversion, as shown off in the first trailer which sees some impressive stunts rewinding back and forth in a very intriguing way.
It might be notable that we don’t even know the name of the main character in Tenet, only that he is played by up and coming actor John David Washington, as some fans speculate it could be connected to one of Nolan’s previous films.
The actor’s comments about how Tenet is an “in-law” to Inception has only fuelled those theories. Could the central character be somehow linked to another character from Nolan’s cinematic CV? (Is Tenet linked to Inception? For a definitive, spoiler-filled answer, follow the link.)
The trailers also make reference to themes regarding death and the afterlife, proving once again that Nolan isn’t afraid to tackle big ideas in his ambitious blockbusters.
We can safely assume that the storyline will be kept largely under wraps until the film’s release, especially as even its co-star Robert Pattinson was only allowed to read the script while locked in a room.
Kenneth Branagh, whose character is “a Russian who communes with the future” told Total Film that he could be the film’s antagonist but it’s hard to tell from the plot.
“Given the nature of it, as Chris to some extent sort of reinvents the wheel here, a lot of people start engaging with John David Washington’s character in both expected ways…so you might expect me to be an antagonist…but then (the story) doesn’t quite follow what you expect as the story plays out,” he said.
The second trailer also includes Pattinson’s character suggesting they crash a plane into a building – which is later teased in the trailer.
Washington has revealed that Nolan really did crash a real-life plane into a real-life building, in an interview with CinemaBlend.
“That was a real plane, and that was a real building that they crashed that plane into,” he said. “And we, cast and crew, all witnessed it. It was epic! It was incredible, we all cheered and hurrayed and hurrahed when they yelled cut after Chris felt like he got it. What you saw is really what happened – at least the night I was there.”
We also know the film has been a truly international production, with stints filming across Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom and the United States.
If you’ve seen the film and were confused by its convoluted climax, here’s the Tenet ending explained.
Who composed the Tenet score?
Surprisingly, not Hans Zimmer! This will be the first time that Zimmer has not worked on a Nolan project since The Prestige in 2006.
Swedish composer Ludwig Göransson will be taking on the musical mantle, adding to a CV which includes a Best Original Score Oscar for Black Panther.
Nolan will be reunited with a number of his other frequent collaborators on the film, however – including cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema.
The latest news on Tenet
In a statement to The Hollywood Reporter in April Ann Sarnoff said: “We are committed to – and are excited about – releasing Tenet in theaters this summer or whenever theaters reopen.”
Another report by Deadline suggested that Tenet will also only meet its target if 80 per cent of the world’s theatres reopen.
If you’re looking for more to watch, check out our TV guide.