'Tenet' July Release Is To Please Christopher Nolan – Warner Bros. Would Prefer To Delay

Warner Bros. has been playing a game of chicken with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the theatrical release of Tenet, which until last week was sticking by its mid-July release date. But when the studio announced the expected delay of the highly anticipated Christopher Nolan film, the new release date — set for just two weeks later — was met with a few raised eyebrows. Many wondered why the studio was so insistent on keeping Tenet in July, despite the likelihood that there would be few changes to the state of the pandemic in just two weeks. According to a new report, Warner Bros. would actually prefer to delay Tenet even further, but are keeping the July release date to appease Nolan.

With the coronavirus pandemic showing no signs of slowing, despite the gradual re-openings of states and businesses, many expected Warner Bros. to push back its earliest blockbuster release: Tenet, set for mid-July. But when the news came last week that Tenet was delayed by just two weeks to July 31, many wondered why Warner Bros. didn't push the film back further. According to a new report from The New York Times, Warner Bros. would actually prefer to delay the release of Tenet even further in order to gain the biggest box office numbers possible, but conceded to director Christopher Nolan's wish that Tenet be the film that helps save the post-pandemic theatrical experience.

Here is what the report says:

In recent weeks, Warner, concerned about its "Tenet" investment, was leaning in favor of postponement, while Mr. Nolan, a fervent advocate for preserving the moviegoing experience, was more eager to press ahead. The discussions amounted to a fraught moment for Warner: Mr. Nolan is a proven moneymaker, and the studio wants to keep him happy.

Nolan has long been an advocate for the theatrical experience, and seems to be bringing that passion for theaters to movie exhibitors across the nation, which have been taking major financial hits since theaters were forced to shutter amid the coronavirus pandemic in mid-March. Tenet is being viewed by theater exhibitors and the movie industry at large as the blockbuster champion that could reenergize flagging theater businesses. While Nolan is one of the few directors who can draw audiences to the theater by name alone, it's still a gamble for Warner Bros., especially as the number of cases rise in the wake of state re-openings following months of lockdown and moviegoers express uncertainty about returning to theaters so soon.

Tenet is set to hit theaters on July 31, 2020.