Despite earning $363 million at the box office, good enough to make it the fifth highest-grossing movie of an otherwise dismal 2020, there’s no other way to cut it: Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was a massive box office bomb.
You have to admire the filmmaker’s determination to stick to his guns and have the time-warping blockbuster play exclusively in theaters, but a $200 million budget coupled with a marketing campaign that had to be relaunched several times over due to the various delays means that Warner Bros. didn’t see a single penny of profit on the project.
Not only that, but a 69% Rotten Tomatoes score also makes it the worst-reviewed feature of Nolan’s career, even if that’s hardly a critical drubbing. WB reportedly lost anywhere between $50 million and $100 million on Tenet, only to watch the director up sticks and take Oppenheimer to Universal, ending a 20+ year creative partnership in the process.
Some people loved the ambitious epic, and others hated it, while Michael Caine said it was the greatest actioner in the history of cinema, which of course had nothing to do with the fact he’s a close friend of Nolan’s and part of the cast.
Either way, Tenet has reappeared on the HBO Max most-watched list at long last as per FlixPatrol, with people able to watch the film the way Nolan intended: either on a home television or a cellphone screen.