Warner Bros. now plans to debut Christopher Nolan’s sci-fi thriller “Tenet” in theaters on August 26 internationally and on September 3 domestically (for Labor Day weekend). This is the third time a release date has been set. I’d pencil it in.

Are people going to sit in theaters during the pandemic? WB obviously thinks so.

There must be a very good reason why WB doesn’t want to release this directly to streaming media. I just can’t think of one. They could use it to market HBO Max (which needs some serious marketing help) or — if they need to recoup the $200 million they spent making the movie — they could put a price on it (say $19.99) and do PPV/VOD. Most people have completely used up the internet and are craving new and exciting content.

Would enough people be willing to pay $19.99 for a DTC movie on opening day? If not, what’s the right price? Can a name-brand, $200 million piece of content distributed through streaming channels deliver a respectable ROI?

There may be another reason: ego. This is a “big screen” movie, and WB is not in the entertainment business; they’re in the “movie business.” Anyone want to share the railroad story with them?


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Author’s note: This is not a sponsored post. I am the author of this article and it expresses my own opinions. I am not, nor is my company, receiving compensation for it.

About Shelly Palmer

Shelly Palmer is a business advisor and technology consultant. He helps Fortune 500 companies with digital transformation, media and marketing. Named LinkedIn's Top Voice in Technology, he is the host of the Shelly Palmer #strategyhacker livestream and co-host of Techstream with Shelly Palmer & Seth Everett. He covers tech and business for Good Day New York, writes a weekly column for Adweek, is a regular commentator on CNN and CNBC, and writes a popular daily business blog. Follow @shellypalmer or visit shellypalmer.com


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