That seems especially bizarre given that some of the other countries have managed COVID better than the US and have healthier box office as a result.
The only way this choice makes sense is if Universal is using the theatrical release to boost the movie's profile for awards season.
So now we have an answer for what a film that would normally open at $100 million could do during the pandemic, since there was a good natured debate that Tenet’s gross wasn’t representative of what a franchise tentpole could achieve. Maybe that number gets doubled if it’s not on HBO Max but I tend to doubt it.
Maybe not double, but I'm sure HBO Max cut into ticket sales to a decent degree.
Perhaps a theater-only release would've been 50% higher?