“Tenet” is on the move once again as Warner Bros. has taken the Christopher Nolan espionage thriller off the release calendar for now. The movie had been positioned to open nationwide August 12. The studio has not announced a new release date for the movie. Warner Bros. was originally scheduled to release “Tenet’ in theaters nationwide July 17. On that date, the film was set to become the first major studio film back in theaters. “Tenet” moved first to July 31, then to Wednesday, August 12. The film’s August date was announced at the end of June.
“Our goals throughout this process have been to ensure the highest odds of success for our films while also being ready to support our theater partners with new content as soon as they could safely reopen,” said Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman Toby Emmerich in a statement. “We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from exhibitors and remain steadfast in our commitment to the theatrical experience around the world.”
“Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to proliferate, causing us to reevaluate our release dates,” Emmerich continued. “Amidst all this continued uncertainty, we have decided to vacate the current dates for our next two releases. We will share a new 2020 release date imminently for ‘Tenet,’ Christopher Nolan’s wholly original and mind-blowing feature. We are not treating ‘Tenet’ like a traditional global day-and-date release, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that. Additionally, we will be moving the next installment from our most-successful horror franchise, ‘The Conjuring 3’ to June 4, 2021.”
The “Tenet” release date shuffle continues as coronavirus cases spike across the country. California Governor Gavin Newsom announced July 13 he is requiring all movie theaters to remain closed, while New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has pushed the opening of movie theaters past phase four of the state’s re-opening plans. New York City and Los Angeles are the top two moviegoing markets in the country, so it’s not likely “Tenet” will open until these regions are ready to have theaters back up and running.
Warner Bros. issued the following statement in June when announcing the “Tenet” release shift to August: “Warner Bros. is committed to bringing ‘Tenet’ to audiences in theaters, on the big screen, when exhibitors are ready and public health officials say it’s time. In this moment what we need to be is flexible, and we are not treating this as a traditional movie release. We are choosing to open the movie mid-week to allow audiences to discover the film in their own time, and we plan to play longer, over an extended play period far beyond the norm, to develop a very different yet successful release strategy.”
Nolan is one of the biggest proponents of the theatrical experience, so it’s been a given that Warner Bros. will continue to delay the film until it makes the most sense to go forward with a traditional theatrical release. Don’t expect Nolan to allow the Studio to go the route of “Trolls World Tour” or “Scoob” and release “Tenet” directly to premium video on demand. In a pre-recorded video address to members of CineEurope in June, Nolan called “Tenet” the one film in his entire filmography that is “most designed for the audience experience, the big screen experience.”
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