The publicly funded Estonian news outlet ERR (Eesti Rahvusringhääling) reports that Christopher Nolan’s budget for his spy movie Tenet is around $224 million. $18.4 million will be spent in Estonia alone and the government is currently mulling over the $5.6 million the production is due via spending incentives established to attract Hollywood productions to the country.

“Tenet”‘s overall budget is a reported €200 million, with the Tallinn-filmed scenes taking up about 20 minutes of the entire movie, including some key scenes, it is reported.

The government is to meet Thursday to discuss the one-off sum of €5 million and whether it can be granted to Film Estonia, which naturally usually deals with much lower-budget movies. The money, if the government opts to provide it, would come from the Ministry of Culture.

This is a rather large number for a budget considering it’s an original project from Nolan and we don’t really know terribly much about what the film is going to be about other than it being a globetrotting adventure taking place in the world of espionage.

If these numbers are accurate it would make Tenet his second most expensive film (not counting inflation) to date and more than doubling the budget of his previous film Dunkirk.

Here is a breakdown of the unadjusted budgets of Nolan’s previous movies since Batman Begins.

  • The Dark Knight Rises – $250 million
  • The Dark Knight – $180 million
  • Interstellar – $165 million
  • Inception – $160 million
  • Batman Begins – $150 million
  • Dunkirk – $100 million
  • The Prestige – $40 million


Many countries such as Hungary, Germany, and Romania have been ramping up their incentives as Europe tries to deal with the production overflow caused by lack of production space in the United Kingdom. A problem which has led to multiple new facilities being built and additional construction to the existing studio spaces as well.

Estonia is one of seven countries to be used for the production including the United Kingdom, Italy, and India. There are expectations that France is also going to be used at some point as well. Having multiple locations could also be adding to the hefty price tag.

The film’s cast includes Robert Pattinson (The Lighthouse), John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman, Ballers), Elizabeth Debicki (Widows), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (Kick-Ass, Kingsman: The Great Game), Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk), Clémence Poésy, Dimple Kapadia, and Michael Caine.

Warner Bros. has given Tenet a prime summer release date of July 17th, 2020.


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