Tenet is the upcoming sci-fi thriller from esteemed director Christopher Nolan and Warner Bros. studios. Since the quarantine hit, Warner Bros. has delayed Tenet twice.
Next month, Tenet was to release on August 12th, one of the first big blockbusters to come back to theaters. However, amidst concerns about reopening theaters because of the various COVID-19 outbreaks around the nation, Tenet has been delayed indefinitely by Warner Bros.
According to Warner Bros. sources, the film will no longer be a “day and date” release. That means that as different countries safely re-open, Warner Bros. will release the film on a country-by-country basis. There have been rumors Warner Bros. might do the same with varying counties/states in the US, but that has yet to be confirmed.
The announcement has sent waves through the film industry. Some theaters that have already opened were pegging their continued success on Tenet’s massive release. Now, they’re left in the lurch.
But there are problems with leaning on the international markets, as well. China, the second-largest movie market behind the US, currently has a rule against its theaters showing movies over two hours. Tenet, unfortunately, runs two hours and thirty minutes.
Despite all these pressuring factors and conflicts, it’s clear that Warner Bros. is not interested in a digital release. The reason for that, as speculated by some members of the movie community, is money. A Nolan film normally draws in large crowds of movie-goers and makes millions, if not billions, of dollars. Warner Bros. caving and making Tenet a digital release would cripple that income opportunity.
Tenet Is Just One Of A Growing List
Alongside Tenet are countless amounts of studios making the same call for their own films. In the past few days, Sony has also put their own upcoming movie, Broken Hearts Gallery, on indefinite hold. Some other notable blockbusters on extended delays are: The Conjuring 3, Antebellum, Black Widow, Dune, Morbius, A Quiet Place Part 2, Top Gun: Maverick, Wonder Woman 1984, and the ever-in-limbo New Mutants.
With Tenet dropping out of the August line-up, Mulan is now the fore-running blockbuster of the month’s theoretical theatrical releases.
As the US quarantine situation persists, film studios (including Warner Bros.) might just have to grapple with the fact their big blockbuster movies will have to try something different than giant theatrical releases. Until they cross that bridge, the endless cycle of delays will likely continue.
Unless Disney chugs forward with Mulan the same way they pushed to open up Disney World, of course. If Mulan’s release goes well, that might force the hand of other studios to start putting out their films, no matter how unpredictable and uncertain the theatrical release situation is.