tenet release date delayed again

In a move that virtually everyone saw coming, Warner Bros. has moved the Tenet release date yet again. The big Christopher Nolan action pic was meant to revive the stagnant movie theater industry and single-handedly save the summer movie season by opening in mid-July. However, as coronavirus cases continue to surge across the country, Warners moved the film first to July 31, and then to August 12. Now, the film’s release date has been pushed back again – indefinitely.

Warner Bros. has announced that Christopher Nolan’s Tenet is moving to…well, no one knows. Rather than keep changing dates, Warner Bros. has decided to delay the film indefinitely. “We will share a new 2020 release date imminently for Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s wholly original and mind-blowing feature,” said Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich in a statement. “We are not treating Tenet like a traditional global day-and-date release, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that.”

Variety adds that sources say Warners will be “flexible” with the release, meaning it will not have a traditional theatrical rollout. The highly-anticipated film has been a kind of bellwether for Hollywood in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak. With theaters shut down for months, the hope was that Nolan’s latest blockbuster would jump-start the all-but-dead summer movie season and open July 17, signaling the return of big theatrical movies.

Unfortunately, the coronavirus has shown no signs of letting up. Indeed, in several states, like Florida and California, cases have been surging and skyrocketing. Recently, California Governor Gavin Newsom announced that indoor restaurants, bars, and movie theaters have to shut down statewide. California is a major box office market, and if a major film can’t open there, studios are hesitant to roll it out anywhere else.

It seems that sooner or later, if things continue in the same fashion, studios are going to have to make some hard decisions. They can either delay every 2020 movie to 2021. Or they can perhaps start rolling more prominent titles out on VOD. There are also international markets to consider. While the United States coronavirus cases continue to spike because we are essentially a country without leadership at this point, places overseas are faring a bit better. Does the movie industry continue to allow theaters around the globe to suffer because of America’s mistakes? Or do they start focusing on opening up in international markets for the time being? I have no answers here, just questions.

I remain excited to see Tenet. And while at this point I’d love for Warner Bros. to just give in and release the film on VOD, I know that’s highly unlikely. In Tenet, “Armed with only one word—Tenet—and fighting for the survival of the entire world, the Protagonist journeys through a twilight world of international espionage on a mission that will unfold in something beyond real time. Not time travel. Inversion.” John David Washington, Robert Pattinson, Elizabeth Debicki, Dimple Kapadia, Michael Caine, and Kenneth Branagh star.

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