I've read good reviews about Christopher Nolan's new Tenet movie and wanted to go see it. Unfortunately it turned out that its only released in cinemas and all of them are currently closed down in my county. Similarly they're not open in NYC, Los Angeles and many other major urban centers. Did the movie studio explain why they've chosen not to stream it in addition to the cinema release? Other movies (such as Bill and Ted 3) did release a streaming version immediately.
Why was Tenet released to cinemas only, even though most of them are closed throughout the US?
5Cinemas are open in many other countries in the world. I'd have to guess it's so that they can maximise their worldwide income.– Mark HendersonSep 8, 2020 at 4:28
The director, Christopher Nolan, is a big fan of the cinema experience and believes that films made for the cinema should be shown there, and he is against the idea that films should premier on the "small screen". For example, he is on record as being against the idea that films first shown on Netflix and other streaming services should be eligible for Oscars. One example (plenty more are available if you care to search):
Christopher Nolan fights for the big screen. He optimizes his movies for the 70mm experience... “Netflix has a bizarre aversion to supporting theatrical films,” Nolan said in an interview this week. “They have this mindless policy of everything having to be simultaneously streamed and released, which is obviously an untenable model for theatrical presentation. So they’re not even getting in the game, and I think they’re missing a huge opportunity.” Source
The theatrical release of Tenet was pushed back multiple times rather than the studio simply releasing it to streaming services early as other films have done during the Covid-19 pandemic (e.g. Trolls: World Tour, Disney's Mulan). Whilst I have not seen anywhere attributing this to Chris Nolan, it's easy to believe he was the driving influence behind the decision.