Christopher Nolan's long-awaited Tenet could prove to be a piracy nightmare for Warner Bros. The public health crisis still has the majority of movie theaters across North America shut down, though international theaters are open for business with new safety protocols. Tenet was the movie that Nolan and Warner Bros. hoped would bring in some much-needed cash for theaters in an effort to salvage the summer 2020 season. Obviously, that was not able to take place.
Tenet is set to open for preview screenings in Australia starting this weekend, with wide release in Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Denmark, Egypt, Estonia, Finland, France, Holland, Hungary, Iceland, Indonesia, Italy, Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Portugal, Serbia, Slovakia, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, Ukraine, and the U.K. on August 26th. The North American release date isn't until September 3rd, and even then, it's unclear how many people are going to be willing to sit in a theater with strangers.
According to an anonymous anti-piracy veteran, this is not going to be good for Warner Bros. "In some ways Tenet is a perfect storm for piracy, in that it has raised expectations, both about the film itself and the cinema experience. Also, it has limited availability and suffers from a staggered release." This could prove to be a logistical nightmare for Warner Bros., who will more than likely be playing whack-a-mole with torrent sites that will inevitably post the movie within hours of its release. It's a fire that will spread across the world with people being desperate for new movie releases, especially with Christopher Nolan's name attached. "We see piracy can occur everywhere. It happens even in the three hours between East and West coast U.S. releases," says the anonymous source.
Tenet is one of the biggest movies of the year and it isn't even out yet. Pirates will bring in camcorders in an attempt to get a bootleg out on to torrent sites immediately, which may be even easier to do now, due to the public health crisis. With so many people worried about other things, like safety, piracy concerns could go down. The U.K.'s Film Content Protection Agency (FCPA) was set up in 2016 under the Film Distributors' Association to thwart bootlegs, which have seen a spike in the London area. Simon Brown, director of the FCPA has had dialogue with the studio and claims that they will take "covert" actions, if needed.
While the studio will probably lose a lot of money on Tenet, it's the Christopher Nolan fans that are really going to be hurt. Nolan movies are engineered to be seen on the big screen as an experience, so a lot of them will not be able to see it like that. In addition, there are the spoilers, which will be all over social media within hours of the first screenings in Australia next weekend. Variety was the first to report on the possibility of a piracy nightmare with Tenet.