Two weeks ago, Warner Bros. decided to push Christopher Nolan’s Tenet back from July 17th to July 31st. What exactly they expected to change significantly with regards to the coronavirus remains unclear, but Variety reports that the studio has pushed Tenet back by another two weeks. The film is now slated to open on Wednesday, August 12th. Warner Bros. also plans to leave the film in theaters for a longer time frame since they believe that attendance will be spaced out.
“Warner Bros. is committed to bringing ‘Tenet’ to audiences in theaters, on the big screen, when exhibitors are ready and public health officials say it’s time,” a Warner Bros. spokesperson said in a statement. “In this moment what we need to be is flexible, and we are not treating this as a traditional movie release. We are choosing to open the movie mid-week to allow audiences to discover the film in their own time, and we plan to play longer, over an extended play period far beyond the norm, to develop a very different yet successful release strategy.”
For starters, exhibitors are ready because they have no choice but to be ready. They’ve reached the point where they either reopen or go out of business entirely, so letting them make the call here is a little disingenuous. As for “public health officials”, that’s a bit of a nebulous statement since you don’t really have to point to any real official. It’s not like saying the Surgeon General or the Department of Human Health and Services. It’s apparently just “health officials” and we’ll leave it at that.
These major companies don’t want to admit the truth, which is that we aren’t ready for reopening. Two weeks ago, they didn’t think that there would be huge surges of cases in Florida, Arizona, Texas, and California, but here we are. But what is the plan here? Maybe if they time Tenet just right they’ll hit a lower-than-average caseload which they can then spike again because people are congregating in theaters? Move the movie to 2021, Warner Bros. It will keep.