It might sound a bit harsh to call a movie that earned $363 million at the box office to go down as the fifth highest-grossing title of 2020 a flop, but Christopher Nolan’s Tenet didn’t make a single penny of profit for Warner Bros. during its theatrical run last summer.
The filmmaker was adamant that his time-bending espionage thriller play exclusively on the big screen during the summer months when vast swathes of cinemas were still shuttered, and it ended up costing the studio a lot of money. Tenet came armed with a $200 million budget alongside a costly marketing campaign, and when the dust had settled WB reportedly lost between $50 million and $100 million on the project.
A 70% score on Rotten Tomatoes also gave it the distinction of being the worst-reviewed effort of Nolan’s career, even though it was hardly panned by critics. While the narrative is often bogged down by exposition and the sound mix can be deafening at points; when Tenet sings, it’s nothing short of incredible.
John David Washington’s stoic hero doesn’t even get a name, but Robert Pattinson is on hand to bring plenty of charm and charisma to his role as the roguish Neil that helps offset the self-seriousness of it all. As per FlixPatrol, Tenet is one of the most popular films on Amazon today, which might have something to do with Nolan sending shockwaves throughout the industry by taking his next feature to Universal, the first time he’s worked for a studio other than Warner Bros. in 20 years.