Nolan took more than five years to write the screenplay after deliberating about Tenet's central ideas for over a decade. Casting began in March 2019, and principal photography took place in Denmark, Estonia, India, Italy, Norway, the United Kingdom, and United States, starting in May 2019. Cinematographer Hoyte van Hoytema shot on 70 mm and IMAX.
Delayed three times due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Tenet was released in the United Kingdom on August 26, 2020, and United States on September 3, 2020, in IMAX, 35 mm, and 70 mm. It was the first Hollywood tent-pole to open in theaters after the pandemic shutdown. The film received positive reviews from critics, who praised the performances and action set-pieces, though some lamented the confusing plot, impassive tone, and sound mixing.