Nolte: ‘Tenet’ and ‘Wonder Woman’ Prove Movies Are Still Dead

Warner Bros.

Director Christopher Nolan’s Tenet was supposed to “save the movies.” What you have in Tenet is a brand new, original blockbuster from a brand name director with a perfect track record and a rabid fan base. Cool trailers. A $200 production budget. Tenet is going to save the movies, right? Perfect movie to get people back in theaters, right?


Young people used to go to the movies. Young people have very little to personally worry about when it comes to the coronavirus. Young people are not returning to the movies.

Stateside, Tenet opened in 2,810 theaters over a three-day holiday weekend and grossed just $20.2 million.

And that was the good news.

The following weekend, just this last weekend, while still in 2,810 theaters, Tenet grossed just $6.7 million, a calamitous drop of 67 percent.

I didn’t write anything about Tenet that first weekend, even though you would have expected it to gross that $20.2 million on a normal Friday night, not over the full three days. Well, things are not normal. Theaters are being forced to practice social distancing, which means fewer seats are available for each screening,

That second weekend, though, that dismal $6.7 million second weekend… Very bad news for the movie industry.

We’re seeing young people all over the place doing all kinds of communal activities despite coronavirus. Bars, restaurants, protests, riots, the beach, parties, etc.

But they’re not going to the movies.

They want nothing to do with the movies.

If young people were eager to return to the norm of movie-going, Tenet would not have crashed and burned and died on week two. A freakin’ Christopher Nolan movie would not have crashed and burned and died on week two.

If that’s not proof enough for you that things are bad, after Wonder Woman 1984 saw Tenet’s performance that first weekend, she picked up her skirt and ran screaming into December. And since Wonder Woman 1984 is anti-Trump, it was no small deal for it to move past Election Day.

This idea that there’s some pent-up desire to return to the movies just isn’t true. There seems to be plenty of pent-up desire to do a whole bunch of other things, but sitting in a movie theater is not one of them.

It’s too early to tell why.

Could it be the mask issue? That no one wants to sit and watch a 2.5-hour movie suffocating under a mask that stinks of stale popcorn? I know I don’t.

Or could it be that people got used to not going to the movies, that habits have changed?

I honestly don’t think it’s the risk of getting sick keeping people away. Like I said above, there are all kinds of things young people are willing to return to that the alarmists have described as risky.

Worldwide, Tenet broke $200 million over two weekends. That’s promising if you forget it will have to break $500 million just to break even, if not more.

The next blockbuster on the calendar is what should be another can’t-miss: Marvel’s Black Widow on November 6.

No Time to Die (James Bond) is set for November 20.

We’ve had 531 total coronavirus cases in my county and zero deaths. The movie theater here is still closed. How stupid is that?

In my five surrounding counties, we’ve had fewer than 50 deaths. Movie theaters are still closed. Pure madness.

 Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC. Follow his Facebook Page here.


Please let us know if you're having issues with commenting.