July 20, 2020
In another of unending blows to the theatrical business model, Warner Bros. has pulled director Christopher Nolan’s international espionage thriller, Tenet, from its oft-changed release slate. The studio has not announced a new release date. The movie, which had originally been scheduled for July 17, was pushed back to July 31, then Aug. 12 as coronavirus infections began to surge in parts of the country.
The movie, along with Disney’s live-action Mulan a week later, were supposed to jumpstart the exhibition business following its mid-March worldwide shutdown. But with infections up across the country, and tepid consumer response in China to theater re-openings, Warner is not treating Tenet like other box office titles.
“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,” Toby Emmerich, Warner Bros. Pictures Group chairman, said 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.”
Emmerich said the pandemic continues to cause us to “re-evaluate our release dates.” California Gov. Gavin Newsom July 13 announced that all movie theaters in the state should remain closed. Warner said it is vacating release dates for its next two box office titles. The Conjuring 3, Warner’s most-successful horror franchise has been pushed back to June 4, 2021.
“We are not treating Tenet like a traditional global day-and-date release, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that,” Emmerich said.