Christopher Nolan's 'Tenet' to be litmus test for Indian film business3 min read . Updated: 03 Dec 2020, 12:01 PM IST
- That expectations are high from the film is clear from the fact that it had sold around 25,000 tickets over the last weekend when advance booking had started and is estimated to make anything between Rs3 crore and Rs5 crore on its opening day
Christopher Nolan’s Tenet, the first big tent-pole movie release in Indian theatres since the covid-19 pandemic broke out in March, has cinema owners keeping their fingers crossed. The film, expected to release on around 750 screens, comes to the country more than three months after its international release. That expectations are high from the film is clear from the fact that it had sold around 25,000 tickets over the last weekend when advance booking had started and is estimated to make anything between Rs3 crore and Rs5 crore on its opening day and manage lifetime business of around Rs15 crore. Termed as the litmus test for film business in India, Tenet sets the stage for the other big Hollywood release later this month, Wonder Woman 1984, both of which are helping theatres stay afloat in these tough times.
“The trade is pretty optimistic about Tenet, given that it has been the global leader in bringing audiences back to theatres despite a muted response in home territory US," film trade and exhibition expert Girish Johar said. The John David Washington and Robert Pattinson-starrer has crossed $350 million worldwide, however, only $55.1 million—or 15.7% of its total revenue—came from North America, according to a Forbes report.
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“To be fair, the (Tenet) release did help keep the lights on in theatres for the last few months, even if its domestic underperformance (among other factors) was followed by the next batch of promised blockbusters such as Candyman, Wonder Woman 1984, No Time to Die, Black Widow, etc. fleeing to later release dates," the Forbes report pointed out.
To be dubbed in Hindi, Tamil and Telugu, Johar said Tenet should have particular appeal for urban, metro audiences, particularly those in the south who had already displayed keenness to go to cinemas for new Diwali offerings. The English version will also be available in IMAX, underlining Nolan’s insistence on large-screen experience for his films, and why he has consistently rejected a straight-to-digital release when theatres remained indefinitely shut during the pandemic. He still chose a theatrical release early September even though several parts of the US and the world had not opened up. IMAX is a 70 mm motion picture film format and set of cinema projection standards where the screen image width is greater than the height of the screen.
“This will definitely be a much-needed change in gear even when compared to new Bollywood offerings such as Suraj Pe Mangal Bhari and could notch up twice or even thrice the occupancy," Johar said. Released for the Diwali weekend, SPMB has made Rs2.34 crore in box office collections.
In a video released for the Indian market on Thursday morning, Nolan said he was looking forward to have audiences watch the film featuring Bollywood actor Dimple Kapadia, parts of which he had shot in Mumbai. To be sure, the film-maker has established a loyal fan base in India with films such as Dunkirk, Interstellar, The Dark Knight, and Inception. His last release, Dunkirk had made Rs20.26 crore in India when it was released in 2017.
“We are extremely positive about Tenet. It should prove to be the litmus test to bring consumer confidence back and set the ball rolling for recovery of film business," said Pramod Arora, chief growth and strategy officer, PVR Ltd.
To be sure, trade experts such as Arora are hoping titles such as Tenet and Wonder Woman 1984 give Bollywood producers the incentive to release new local films that they have been holding back for fear of audiences not turning up in theatres. At the Hindustan Times Leadership Summit last week, Ajay Bijli chairman and managing director of PVR Ltd said while there is much going for Hollywood films such as Tenet, the real test will only be with big-ticket Bollywood movies.
“It (Tenet) is a very big movie. Christopher Nolan has a huge track record, it’s on IMAX, it is a proper movie meant for the big screen and it has not come on PVoD (premium video-on-demand) as yet. It will be a good indication though not like an ‘83 and Sooryavanshi, they will be a much better barometer. Still it will be much better than the kind of movies we have been playing," Bijli had said.