Seth Rogen’s An American Pickle was considering a direct-to-consumer distribution before it was the new normal. That is to say even before the coronavirus pandemic forced Sony Pictures’ hand in relinquishing the rights to the odd, pensive comedy to HBO Max, Rogen and the studio were already looking to part ways on the particular project. Which is pretty far from the odyssey of theatrical delays and frustrations Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is on.
It’s an unusual comparison to make, but Rogen is the first to point to the lack of similarities while speaking with The Hollywood Reporter. Talking to that trade back in July, Rogen jokingly mused his production company Point Grey Pictures often turns to Christopher Nolan as an inspiration, including for Nolan’s reported insistence at Warner Bros. to release Tenet in theaters during a pandemic.
“I’m waiting to see what Chris Nolan does,” Rogen told THR about his business strategy on the same day Tenet was pushed off its Aug. 12 release date for an indefinite delay (it’s since been slated for a limited U.S. release on Sept. 3). “‘WWCND’ is basically what we’re saying at all times. ‘What would Chris Nolan do?’ For a while, it seemed like the answer was to kill his greatest fans. But that’s not the answer of today, it seems, so that’s good. But we have no idea. We don’t want to be the first to rush into anything.”
Rogen is referring to the now infamous series of delays surrounding Nolan’s new mysterious epic, Tenet. As a thriller that deals with some form of time manipulation, Tenet was originally supposed to be released on July 17 before the pandemic forced WB’s hand. But even then, Tenet was the last major summer release to move off its original date and only then to July 31 before moving next to Aug 12.
One imagines Rogen would have some thoughts about the latest rollout plan announced by WB, which will see Tenet open in more than 70 countries on Aug. 26, including the UK, before having a “select city” opening in the U.S. on Sept. 3. Ironically, Disney’s own Mulan is now premiering on Disney+, at a premium price, on Sept. 4. This puts the two movies in direct competition.
Conversely, Rogen’s own An American Pickle was secured to become an HBO Max premiere in late April, and Rogen is very fine with the development.
“It’s a movie about loss, and about family, and about legacy,” Rogen told the trade. “These are just not things that generally are said in the Sony marketing meetings. Nowhere in our films do people get sucked into a board game. I love those movies; this is just not that.”
Audiences will have the chance to see for themselves when American Pickle debuts on streaming tomorrow. Tenet, meanwhile, is scheduled to begin its staggered global release at the end of the month.