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Is Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet’ Prologue Coming to IMAX in December? History Says Yes

It wouldn't be a Christopher Nolan movie without a pre-release IMAX prologue drop.

Director Christopher Nolan poses for photographers upon arrival at the premiere of the film '2001: A Space Odyssey' at the 71st international film festival, Cannes, southern France2018 2001: A Space Odyssey Red Carpet, Cannes, France - 13 May 2018

Christopher Nolan

Vianney Le Caer/Invision/AP/Shutterstock

Christopher Nolan’s “Tenet” is not opening in theaters until July 2020, but moviegoers might be getting the chance to see new footage from the film on the big screen before the end of 2019. The Motion Picture Association (MPA), formerly known as the MPAA, has officially rated a “Tenet” prologue (via Trailer Track). While no runtime has been listed, the MPA has given the “Tenet” prologue a PG-13 rating for violence and intense action. Now the question remains: When will the “Tenet” prologue hit theaters?

News of a “Tenet” prologue release should hardly be a shock to Christopher Nolan fans. Starting with “The Dark Knight,” all of Nolan’s films have released prologues or extended footage in IMAX months ahead of their theatrical openings. While not confirmed, it’s safe to assume the “Tenet” prologue will be an exclusive IMAX release.

“The Dark Knight,” which was the first narrative feature film to use IMAX cameras, screened its first six minutes in front of IMAX screenings of “I Am Legend.” The opening kidnapping sequence of “The Dark Knight Rises” played ahead of IMAX screenings of “Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol.” A special “Interstellar” trailer rolled out at museum-based IMAX locations capable of exhibiting 70mm film. Lastly, a five-minute “Dunkirk” sizzle reel screened in IMAX ahead of “Rogue One: A Star Wars Story.”

Aside from “Interstellar,” all of these Nolan IMAX prologues debuted in front of December studio tentpoles. The prologues were from films opening in July. Considering “Tenet” is a July 2020 release, it’s almost inevitable the prologue is coming this December. And what happens to be the big December studio tentpole in 2019? “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.” Warner Bros. sneaked “Dunkirk” ahead of “Rogue One,” and it appears it’s most likely that “Tenet” drops ahead of “Rise of Skywalker.” Warner Bros. did not respond to IndieWire’s request for comment.

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“Tenet” is an international espionage drama starring “BlacKkKlansman” breakout David Washington opposite Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Clémence Poésy, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh. Warner Bros. dropped a one-minute “Tenet” teaser in August, but it played exclusively in theaters ahead of “Hobbs & Shaw.” The teaser was never officially published online. “Tenet” opens in theaters July 17, 2020.

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