theatrical presentation

UPDATE: Regal Cinemas and Cinemark theater chains are also following suit by pushing back their reopening plans. More details in our updated post below.

Movie theater chains in the United States have been waiting with bated breath to see when Warner Bros. Pictures is going to release Tenet. Originally slated for release in mid-July, the movie has been pushed back several times as the prospect of reopening movie theaters across the nation remains up in the air due to a continued rise in coronavirus cases in many major markets. Since Warner Bros. has pushed back Tenet and hasn’t locked down a definitive new release date, theĀ AMC Theatres reopening will now be delayed until sometime in August.

The Hollywood Reporter has word on AMC Theatres reopening being delayed again after previously being set for July 30. Instead, 450 of their theaters in the United States will now open in mid-to-late August, though no specific date was provided, and the list of theaters to be reopened was not made available either. This is very likely still flexible since AMC Theatres said in a statement:

“This new timing reflects currently expected release dates for much anticipated blockbusters like Warner Bros.’ Tenet and Disney’s Mulan, as well as release dates for several other new movies coming to AMC’s big screens.”

Previously, AMC Theatres had planned to reopen theaters on a weekend-by-weekend basis, eventually getting the entire chain up and running as time went on. The hope was to begin that process at the end of July by reopening with repertory screenings of classic movies, blockbuster favorites, and some of the movies that were playing in theaters in March before they all shut down. All of that would have led to the arrival of Tenet in mid-August.

Presumably that’s still the plan when/if AMC Theatres reopens in August, but that’s likely based on the assumption that Warner Bros. is thinking about releasing Tenet on Labor Day weekend in the United States, which is far from a sure thing. But before that, Tenet will likely end up playing in international territories in Europe and the Middle East, where a third of AMC’s locations have already reopened. It will be one of the rare instances where audiences in the United States will have to wait to see a big Hollywood blockbuster after it plays overseas. But it wouldn’t have to play out like this if people would stop being stupid and start wearing masks.

However, if Tenet doesn’t have a solid date in the United States, could that August reopening still happen? Disney hasn’t yet shifted their latest release date for Mulan on August 21, Unhinged with Russell Crowe is still waiting in the wings, and Bill & Ted Face the Music just announced a September 1 release date too. So AMC Theatres should have some new movies to show, but it likely depends on how the next few weeks go with coronavirus cases across the United States. There’s a chance we might see a staggered release of these movies around the country to go along with the phased reopening of movie theaters, which would probably be some good news for exhibitors looking to increase revenue, even if it’s only a fraction of what they’d normally be making during this time.

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UPDATE: Regal Cinemas will no longer be opening at the end of July either. They have updated their website with a message that says, “Announcement of New Reopening Date Coming Soon.” ComicBook.com has confirmed that this is a new update and not just the placeholder from the previous reopening delay. Unlike AMC Theatres, they have not announced intentions to open in August, but they’re probably playing the same waiting game that all theaters are at this point.

Cinemark is joining the rest of the major theater chains by delaying their opening as well. In a statement obtained by the Cleveland Plain Dealer, a representative for the theater chain said:

“The company continues to evaluate [the] availability of new studio content, [and] status of the virus and local government regulations as it plans for the phased reopening of its U.S. theatres. All locations will reopen with greatly enhanced cleanliness, sanitizing, and safety measures at every step of the moviegoing experience.”

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