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3 Reasons Why 'Tenet' Should Go to Streaming Sooner Rather Than Later

By Matt Chieco

2020 has not been kind to the movie industry. With dozens of movies being delayed, streaming has become the new normal. I'm among the many people hoping that 'Tenet,' directed by Christopher Nolan, gets released on streaming sooner rather than later. Though it's not just because I can't see it due to theaters being closed in my area.

Big Score For HBO Max

Firstly, since HBO Max launched in May of this year, it has struggled to gain users (despite everyone with HBO getting it for free). One of the main problems is that while the platform boasts some of the best movies in film history, its original content is lackluster. Like other streaming services, HBO Max has numerous original programs in the works, but due to COVID-19, release dates have been pushed back. A significant movie like 'Tenet' could be the hit that HBO Max needs. When Disney+ added 'Hamilton' to their platform, it led to a 79% growth in downloads. If 'Tenet' can achieve what 'Hamilton' did, it would certainly be a win. Even if they choose to follow the approach of 'Mulan' and charge a fee for exclusive renting ‘Tenet’ on HBO Max, it could attract subscribers and recoup some of its budget.

Low Box Office Numbers / Theaters Might Close Down Again

'Tenet' has had a very unconventional release, using a staggered rollout method. After multiple delays, it was first released in Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia, and the United Kingdom on August 26th. Subsequently, it was released in the US on September 3rd, followed by China on September 4th. While 'Tenet' has performed reasonably well overseas, the numbers in the US haven't matched up. As of October 4th, 2020, 'Tenet' has grossed just over $41 million in the US. Many attribute these numbers to its inability to play in major markets like New York and Los Angeles. 'Tenet' served as a test, resulting in other movies either being pushed to the end of 2020 or sometime in 2021. This shift has led to theaters that reopened potentially having to close again due to a lack of content. In fact, Variety reported that Regal Cinemas is closing theaters it had previously reopened in 543 locations across the US. Since many people either don't feel safe going to theaters, or their theaters are still closed or facing possible closures again, releasing the movie on streaming platforms (even if it's not exclusive to HBO Max) for purchase/rental is likely in the movie's best interest.

Multiple Viewings

Lastly, critics and theater-goers who have seen the movie say that it needs to be viewed more than once. Given the subject matter surrounding the movie, it may be difficult to fully comprehend during the initial viewing (and perhaps even the second and third viewings). However, similar to other time-themed movies, the more you notice with each viewing, the more enjoyable it becomes.

'Tenet' is currently playing in select theaters.

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