Tenet May Skip Your Local Drive-In Movie Theater, Here’s Why

While Tenet may soon be making its way to a theater near you, don’t expect it to be at a drive-in near you. Warner Bros. is gearing up to release Christopher Nolan’s highly-anticipated blockbuster internationally, with the domestic rollout scheduled to begin in early September. While much remains to be seen in terms of how wide the release will be, drive-ins may not be a huge part of the equation due to the studio’s strict rules for exhibitors.

According to a new report, Warner Bros. is only allowing Tenet to screen on outdoor venues in markets where indoor theaters are open. In other words, in cities where traditional movie theaters are unlikely to be operating when the movie is initially released, drive-ins will not be permitted to show Christopher Nolan’s latest. This could prove to be a major blow for eager moviegoers who were hoping to watch the movie from the safety of their own vehicle, instead of packing into a crowded theater. And that gets to the heart of the matter when it comes to the importance of this mandate.

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Drive-ins have helped keep the box office afloat in recent months but they still represent a tiny fraction of the potential screens available in the U.S. When the exhibition business is fully functioning, there are more than 6,000 screens available in the U.S. Around 300 drive-ins are presently operating. Be that as it may, the reason drive-in theaters, where were all but extinct just six months ago, have thrived is because they offer consumers a safe option. Tenet could benefit in the long run by being available in as many safe locations as possible.

While this is not encouraging news for drive-in owners or moviegoers at the moment, there is hope. It is stressed that these policies could change as the rollout of Tenet begins. The movie, which stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine and Kenneth Branagh, comes with a massive $200 million budget. Not only that but Christopher Nolan is getting a huge chunk of the box office dollars. That means it needs to make a huge amount of money to be profitable for the studio. They are hoping the unconventional release strategy pays off but it remains to be seen how willing audiences around the world will be in terms of flocking to theaters. Warner Bros. may opt to loosen that policy as financial data comes in.

Tenet was originally supposed to arrive this summer but has been delayed several times as a result of the theater closure. Critics who have screened the movie have generally been kind to it, as it currently holds an 82 percent approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes. However, the reactions, when diving deeper, were a bit mixed and ran the table. The marketing has been extremely secretive thus far for the time-bending thriller. Tenet is set to begin its U.S. theatrical rollout on September 3. This news comes to us via Variety.

Ryan Scott at Movieweb

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