Tenet, Christopher Nolan's thriller, reportedly approved for a theatrical release in China

Tenet has reportedly passed government approvals for a theatrical release in China. However, an official release date is yet to be announced

Asian News International July 30, 2020 15:20:22 IST
Tenet, Christopher Nolan's thriller, reportedly approved for a theatrical release in China

Tenet announced Wednesday, 29 July, that it has passed government approvals for a theatrical release in China, an indication that an official release date is now on the horizon.

According to Variety, the film has released a poster in Chinese, swapping the English tagline "time runs out" for a clarion call to return to cinemas that roughly translates to "make every second count; invade the theatres."

Chinese cinemas reopened in regions at low risk for COVID-19 on 20 July, taking in $12.6 million in their opening weekend. Currently, around 44 per cent of its cinemas are back in business but have been required to operate at just 30 per cent capacity to allow for social distancing, as well as reduce their total number of screenings to half their usual tally.

The guidelines for reopening released by the National Film Bureau request that cinemas, not screen films that are over two hours long - which could potentially pose problems for Tenet, which runs at two hours and 31 minutes.

Tenet Christopher Nolans thriller reportedly approved for a theatrical release in China

Still from Tenet

This directive was soon contradicted, however, by Chinese authorities' subsequent approval of numerous films longer than two hours for nationwide theatrical release. These include Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone and Nolan's own Interstellar - currently scheduled for a theatrical re-run starting 2 August, as well as local blockbusters already in play like Operation Red Sea.

Tenet had to reschedule its release numerous times due to COVID-19 before Warner Brothers this week settled on the unconventional plan of debuting it internationally before it hits North America.

It is now prepared to open in around 70 countries abroad starting on 26 August, including the UK, Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Korea and Russia. It will then premiere in select US cities over Labor Day weekend from 3 September.

China is far and away from the most important foreign market for Tenet director Christopher Nolan's films.

The Chinese box office for almost every film he's made as either director or executive producer has blown away earnings from other territories by a large margin. The only exceptions are Dunkirk and The Dark Knight Rises, for which China was the second-largest market globally behind the UK, and Batman Begins, which hit the Middle Kingdom all the way back in 2005 when its box office was still comparatively nascent.

Of the Nolan-directed films--Dunkirk made $51 million in China in 2017, while Interstellar grossed $122 million there in 2014.

The Dark Knight Rises grossed $52.8 million in 2012 and Inception $68.4 million in 2010.

Films executive produced by Nolan has also seen strong showings in the country. They include Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with $96 million, Justice League with $106 million, Transcendence with $20 million, and Man of Steel with $63 million.

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