The first major blockbuster to be released in theaters since the coronavirus pandemic closed them stars John David Washington in "Tenet."
It's already grossed more than $250 million around the world.
John David, or J.D. to his friends, is the son of Denzel Washington, but he's managed to make his own way in the world for almost two decades now -- first as a star wide receiver in college, then as an actor playing a football player on HBO's "Ballers."
His role in Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman" secured him a place on the big screen, and "Tenet" was on its way to making him a genuine movie star. That's when the pandemic hit.
In the movie, Washington plays a spy who must deal with a world that goes forward and backwards. The buzz for the movie was building before its release was delayed due to COVID-19.
"You have this plan, this idea of what it's going to be like when it comes out," Washington said.
He had been planning on a flurry of promotion.
"World tour, visit different countries over the globe introducing the film," he said. "So knowing that wasn't going to happen, and it couldn't happen, was a bit discouraging. However, I think it worked out better than we could have imagined."
Director Christopher Nolan stood firmly against streaming the movie to homes, arguing his big budget epic must be seen on a big screen.
It's a bet that has paid off so far.
"People are starved, and I think there's a hankering for entertainment," Washington said.
"Tenet" will have to gross more than $400 million to break even, and it's already taken in a quarter of a billion bucks in parts of the country and world where theaters have reopened.
"It's hard to get a thrill these days, just a fun natural thrill," Washington said. "And you can get one with this movie in the theater."
And he's expecting an array of emotions once the film opens wide.
"A great deal of relief to be honest," he said. "Simple as that."
Theaters remain closed in New York City, but the star is convinced that given enough time, moviegoers will find the movie, and "Tenet" will draw an audience big enough to justify its huge cost.
"The numbers show they are going out to see it, so that's been just a great deal of relief that people seem to enjoy it still want to go to the movies," he said. "There's great joy in knowing that."