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Why is ‘Tenet’ in theaters during the pandemic? Warner Bros. CEO explains the reason

Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff explains why ‘Tenet’ is hitting theaters.

JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON and ROBERT PATTINSON and in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action epic “TENET,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
JOHN DAVID WASHINGTON and ROBERT PATTINSON and in Warner Bros. Pictures’ action epic “TENET,” a Warner Bros. Pictures release.
Melinda Sue Gordon, Warner Bros.

Warner Bros. CEO Ann Sarnoff recently explained why Warner Bros. decided to release “Tenet” at movie theaters during the coronavirus pandemic.

What’s going on:

“Tenet” hit movie theaters across the country Thursday night, joining international markets that began airing the film at the end of August.

“Tenet” has zigged where other studios have zagged. While some studios pushed films back to 2021, “Tenet” went full blast with a 2020 release.

Sarnoff told Deadline that releasing “Tenet” with precautions in mind was key.

“You look across the hundreds of countries where we debuted ‘Tenet,’ many more theaters were open in the U.S. and they were craving product. We’ve been analyzing numbers and consumer behavior, so we’ve been studying this since COVID began. We crunched the numbers and figured out a way to make it work. Don’t spend all your money upfront! Pace yourself, it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Release it, don’t expect a huge opening weekend, but as you know, even though there’s reduced capacity, we’re getting more theaters per location. We felt this was the right thing, until there’s a vaccine, I don’t know how much it’s going to change between now and then. For the markets, where cases are low, and people feel safe to go to movies, I’m excited to give them this amazing movie.”

‘Tenet’ vs. ‘Mulan’

Of course, Sarnoff is aware that Disney went another route with releasing its blockbuster “Mulan” on Disney Plus for $30 through Premier Access. She made a comment on the decision in her interview with Deadline.

“I don’t know if I completely understand the strategy, but anyone who is releasing movies right now, I’m rooting for them. It is a different strategy that they’re taking in the U.S. versus international, and we’ll watch closely to see how they do. I think the silver lining of COVID is that we’re all experimenting in different ways and watching closely what the other does. Hopefully as an industry we’re stronger having had multiple experiences.”

Head over to Deadline to read more from Sarnoff’s interview.