Tenet might end-up his most expensive non-Batman film to date as Variety is reporting that the science fiction/spy hybrid is said to be costing Warner Bros. around $205 million for its production budget. This would make Tenet Nolan’s second most expensive film as The Dark Knight Rises holds that title at $250 million. 

An Estonian outlet over the summer suggested the budget could have been as much as $220 million, but Variety suggests is a little less than that. 

“Tenet” carries a huge $205 million price tag, so the blockbuster-hopeful will need to become a massive commercial hit to turn a profit. And aside from its vague tagline, setting the high-stakes epic in the world of international espionage, the premise is still basically a mystery.

Here is a breakdown of the budgets of Christopher’s previous films to get an idea of why this is sort of a big deal. 

  • MEMENTO (2000) – $9 Million 
  • INSOMNIA (2002) – $46 Million
  • BATMAN BEGINS (2005) – $150 Million
  • THE PRESTIGE (2006) – $40 Million 
  • THE DARK KNIGHT (2008) – $185 Millon
  • INCEPTION (2010) – $160 Million 
  • THE DARK NIGHT RISES (2012) – $250 Million
  • INTERSTELLAR (2014) – $165 Million

It’ll be curious if Nolan does indeed intend to turn Tenet into an original franchise for the studio since Inception’s obtuse ending makes it hard to sequelize and making multiple installments, however, with Tenet going into it with that intention might allow them to be more playful with the idea of more movies within this world. 

The only way we’ll get more Tenet movies is this first movie makes a profit and this would suggest that it’ll have to earn between $700 million and $1 billion to achieve that goal depending on how much Warner Bros. intends to eventually spend on the marketing for the film between now and the summer. 

Inception earned an impressive $829.8 million at the global box office, so I’d assume that likely what they’re aiming for, if not a little more.

For some context, most $200 million budgets are reserved for massive studio movies like Avatar, Marvel/DC Comics, and Bond. 

Nolan has his following but it does feel like Tenet is going to heavily rely on the marketing given how secretive the studio has been about the project and if they’re too secretive it might just confuse potential audiences to what they’re paying to see. 

Tenet’s cast includes John David Washington (BlackKklansman), Robert Pattinson (The Batman, The Lighthouse), Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of The Galaxy Vol.2, The Man From U.N.C.L.E.), Michael Caine (Inception, The Dark Knight), Kenneth Branagh (Dunkirk), Aaron Taylor-Johnson (The King’s Man, Avengers: Age of Ultron, Kick-Ass), Clemence Poesy (In Bruges, Harry Potter and The Globet of Fire), Martin Donovan (Ant-Man, Inherent Vice, Insomnia), and Himesh Patel (Yesterday). 

Some of the filming locations of Tenet were England, Norway, India, Estonia, and Italy. 

The production team includes cinematographer Hoyte Van Hoytema (Dunkirk, Ad Astra, Interstellar, Spectre), production designer Nathan Crowley (Batman Begins, The Dark Knight, The Dark Knight Rises, Dunkirk, Interstellar), and has a score composed by recent Oscar-winner Ludwig Goransson (The Mandalorian, Black Panther). 

Tenet is set for release on July 17th and will need to have a serious impact with audiences. 



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