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Tenet Is Coming to HBO Max This May

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Tenet will be coming to HBO Max this May. Christopher Nolan's 2020 espionage epic had a tumultuous road to screens, arriving in theaters with the weight of the moviegoing industry seemingly on its shoulders. Tenet was originally scheduled for a July 2020 release, but as the COVID-19 pandemic forced theaters to shut down all around the world, Warner Bros. pushed the film back several times. Nolan, a big proponent of the theatrical experience, wanted his film seen in theaters and refused to allow Tenet to be released on a streaming service or with a modified release pattern that would see it hit PVOD early.

Some thought Tenet could be the film to bring people back to theaters, but its box office take was largely a disappointment. Ultimately, the film ended up grossing only $363 million dollars worldwide against an estimated $200 million production budget. It did not spark a return to theatrical normalcy that many had hoped and studios reacted in kind, pushing back their major tentpoles into 2021.

While Tenet's theatrical release has largely been seen as a disappointment, it has experienced a second life on on-demand and now it will become available for viewing on the streamer. HBO Max announced that Nolan's film will hit the Warner Media streamer May 1. There's no word on whether or not this will be a permanent addition to the streamer's library or a temporary entry.


Warner Bros. and Nolan have long had a fortuitous relationship with the studio allowing the director to make many of his massive blockbusters without much interference. Their relationship seemed to sour, though, when Warner Bros. announced that their entire 2021 film slate would be released on HBO Max the same day the films hit theaters. Nolan lambasted Warner Bros. for it's HBO Max deal, calling the studio "the worst streaming service" and has been vocal about being very pleased that Tenet did not suffer the same fate.

Nolan couldn't prevent Tenet from hitting HBO Max forever, though. The film is part of Warner Bros. repertoire and also would've been a big draw during any normal summer blockbuster season. The streamer has already experienced success with its release model after Wonder Woman 1984's Christmas release pushed the streamer over 40 million subscribers. HBO Max also just released Zack Snyder's Justice League and is gearing up for two more blockbusters, Godzilla vs Kong and Mortal Kombat, to hit the streamer in the coming weeks. Tenet may not be as fresh as it once was, but it's still a high profile film that many may have not seen and it had its chance in theaters. Its HBO Max release will finally allow more people at home to see the film after more than a year of waiting.

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