An operative of the organization known as Tenet is tasked with preventing World War III.
Writer and director Christopher Nolan conceived the ideas behind Tenet over twenty years, but remarked "I've been working on this iteration of the script for about six or seven years". The title is a palindrome, reading the same backwards as forwards. Nolan made a conscious effort to abstain from any influence of the spy genre other than his own memory.
, Robert Pattinson, and Elizabeth Debicki were cast in March 2019. The casting of Dimple Kapadia, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clémence Poésy, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh was announced as filming started. Himesh Patel joined in August, with Denzil Smith being added that September. Martin Donovan was revealed upon the release of the first trailer. In January 2020, retired ice hockey player Sean Avery made his involvement known. Jack Cutmore-Scott, Rich Ceraulo Ko, and Mélanie Laurent were included in the following months. Nolan chose Washington for his performance in BlacKkKlansman. Washington, Pattinson, and Debicki said they were only permitted to read the screenplay while locked in a room. Pattinson based his character's mannerisms on those of author Christopher Hitchens. Kapadia's screen test was put together by director Homi Adajania while working on his 2020 film Angrezi Medium. For one day of work, Caine was merely given his pages and had not heard from Nolan since.
composed the score as Nolan's frequent collaborator Hans Zimmer had committed himself to the 2020 film Dune. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Göransson recorded musicians at their homes. Jennifer Lame replaced Nolan's long-time editor Lee Smith, who was occupied with 2019's 1917. DNEG created about 280 VFX shots.
Release and marketing
Distributor Warner Bros. Pictures originally scheduled Tenet for a July 17, 2020 release in IMAX, 35 mm, and 70 mm film. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it was first delayed to July 31, and subsequently August 12, with a tenth anniversary screening of Inception taking the previous spot. After being held up indefinitely, Warner Bros. arranged the film to be released internationally on August 26, 2020 in seventy countries, including Australia, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, South Korea, Russia, and the United Kingdom. It will then move to select cities in the United States on September 3, gradually expanding in the ensuing weeks. Executives calculated that each postponement cost Warner Bros. between $200,000 and $400,000 in marketing fees. In August 2019, Warner Bros. debuted a forty-second teaser ahead of Hobbs & Shaw previews. It was attached to Indian showings of Joker in October. The first trailer was published online in December, when a cinema-exclusive prologue played in certain IMAX theaters before . The latter was introduced during Indian IMAX screenings of Birds of Prey in February 2020. A TV spot appeared that May, promoted in Fortnites Party Royale mode. The film's inverted logo, stylized by Nolan as TENƎꓕ, had been altered around this time because it came to light that a bicycle brand bore the same design. With a production budget between $200–225million, Tenet is Nolan's most expensive original project. IndieWire speculated that the marketing could push the final sum to $300–350million, though analysts predicted lower advertising costs than usual, owing to inexpensive live sports ads. Observer estimated the film would need to make $450–500million in order to break even. Nolan is reported to receive twenty percent of the first-dollar gross.