Christopher Nolan’s time-shifting thriller Tenet will debut on HBO Max May 1st, just a few months after the director called it the “worst streaming service.”
Tenet was scheduled to be released in theaters last July, but had its opening date delayed several times because of the coronavirus pandemic. It debuted in theaters outside the US, including Canada, France, Japan, and the UK in August, and in US theaters in September.
Nolan, long a proponent of watching movies on the big screen, was bluntly critical of Warner Bros.’ decision to release all of its 2021 films simultaneously in theaters and on HBO Max. He said in a statement that “Some of our industry’s biggest filmmakers and most important movie stars went to bed the night before thinking they were working for the greatest movie studio and woke up to find out they were working for the worst streaming service.”
Reports at the time suggested that the studio kept filmmakers and stars in the dark about its streaming plans, and Nolan said many were caught off-guard.
“There’s such controversy around it, because [Warner Bros.] didn’t tell anyone,” he told ETOnline in December. “In 2021, they’ve got some of the top filmmakers in the world, they’ve got some of the biggest stars in the world who worked for years in some cases on these projects very close to their hearts that are meant to be big-screen experiences. They’re meant to be out there for the widest possible audiences.”
HBO Max, which launched in May 2020, had nearly 40 million US subscribers as of January.
Tenet, which stars John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh, has grossed more than $363 million worldwide since its release. It’s up for two Oscars: Best Achievement in Visual Effects and Best Achievement in Production Design.