Fans who were hoping to see Tenet next month on the 17th are in for a disappointment, as the Christopher Nolan-directed movie has been delayed yet again. Tenet has received a new release date of Wednesday, August 12, to adjust to a new spike in cases of infection in major cities. A spokesperson for Warner Bros. issued the following statement to explain the change in date.
“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.”
Tenet is widely considered to be the most important movie of the year, thanks to Nolan’s reputation as a blockbuster director who has the brand recognition among general audiences to lure them back to the theaters with his new film.
Christopher Nolan is also a fierce proponent of the theater experience and would fight tooth-and-nail to have Tenet screen in theaters rather than go direct-to-streaming, which is an option that more and more studios and filmmakers are being forced to adopt. Recently, Nolan had to step in and assure film distributors that he was committed to a theatrical release for his new film, more so than for any other movie in his career.
“This is a film whose image and sound really needs to be enjoyed in your theaters on the big screen and we’re very very excited for you to see what it is we’ve done. We’ve made big films in the past, but this is a film whose global reach and level of action is beyond anything we’ve ever attempted before. I think we only would have been able to pull off this film with the level of experience we’ve had doing action films in the past.”
Unfortunately, all of the filmmaker and studio’s determination to go ahead with a theatrical release for Tenet have fallen flat in the face of the reality of the lockdown. The movie has already been delayed for months now, and might very well be delayed yet again if the spike in cases of infection does not subside soon. After all, there is no point in releasing Tenet in theaters if the public is unwilling to brave the chances of infection to sit in a crowded hall with strangers just to watch a movie.
Interestingly, the statement by the studio spokesperson seems to imply that Tenet will be changing strategies in terms of occupancy and duration in theaters to adjust to the demands of social distancing while still allowing fans to get the proper big-screen experience for the movie. How well this strategy will work remains to be seen. The Hollywood Reporter was the first to report this news.