Warner Bros. has delayed Tenet‘s release date. This announcement comes after a handful of release date pushes and discussion over whether there will ever be a “right” time for Christopher Nolan‘s new mind-bending movie to help re-open theaters. Additionally, this announcement comes with an official statement from Warner Bros. on their plans to market and distribute Tenet globally.
Before Monday, Tenet‘s release date had been pushed twice. Initially scheduled for release on July 17, the most recent release date scheduled for the Nolan pic was August 12. In a show of confidence from Warner Bros., new posters boasting the August release date were unveiled earlier this month. However, Monday afternoon saw the release of an official statement on Tenet‘s delay (via Variety). Warner Bros. chairman Toby Emmerich shared,
“We will share a new 2020 release date imminently for Tenet, Christopher Nolan’s wholly original and mind-blowing feature. We are not treating Tenet like a traditional global day-and-date release, and our upcoming marketing and distribution plans will reflect that.”
It is still unclear if Warner Bros. has any intention to try and plan a fall or winter 2020 release date for Tenet. The release dates for some Warner Bros. tentpoles previously moved to fall or winter 2020, including Wonder Woman 1984 (October 2, 2020) and Dune (December 18), remain unchanged while others, like The Batman (June 25, 2021) have been pushed to next year. More likely, the mention of Warner Bros. drawing up new marketing and distribution plans means we could be looking at a 2021 release date for Tenet. Whether Warner Bros. still intends Tenet to be a summer movie (as was the plan this year) or plans to make it the highlight of another key moviegoing “season” remains to be seen.
Emmerich’s statement on Tenet‘s delay also provided some broader insight into the decision-making process for release date delays.
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. We’re grateful for the support we’ve received from exhibitors and remain steadfast in our commitment to the theatrical experience around the world. Unfortunately, the pandemic continues to proliferate, causing us to reevaluate our release dates.”
Generally, release dates still feel very malleable as the industry continues to weather the effects of the global COVID-19 pandemic on every aspect of the business. From production schedules to the safety of movie theaters, every corner of the industry has felt the effects of the months-long pause as we all try to regroup and assess how to proceed. This announcement from Warner Bros. comes as a particularly notable surprise considering the narrative has been, for weeks now, that Nolan’s new movie will help encourage folks to return to movie theaters as big chains like AMC and Regal Cinemas plan to reopen with new health and safety measures in place. Now, it’s truly anyone’s guess as to what we can expect with Tenet‘s release (and the release of other big tentpoles) going forward.