The mind-bending film that isn't about time travel keeps shifting into the future, this time eyeing an August theatrical release as the United States sets record for new COVID-19 cases.
Chrisopher Nolan's mysterious new film might not be about time travel, per its director and cast -- those who have any idea what it is about -- but it can't seem to stop skipping ahead in time itself.
Determined for his latest work to be seen in theaters on the big screen, the director has been forced to delay the film's opening yet again as the United States set a new daily record for COVID-19 cases, according to NPR, with 40,401 new cases reported Thursday (eclipsing the previous record of 36,291 on April 24).
Warner Bros. made the official announcement on Thursday, telling Variety that the film is now expected to land on Wednesday, August 12, nearly a month out from its initial release date. Slated to drop on July 17, the studio pushed that back to July 31 in hopes some normalcy would return by then and theaters would open.
But with coronavirus cases on the rise there is still uncertainty as to what the state of the world will be even in a month's time, and so the studio has shifted again. In doing so, they even went so far as to say that this new date was as tentative as the last one. World realities will dictate when the film drops.
"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," the studio said in a statement.
One of the factors that seems to be affecting this decision is New York governor Andrew Cuomo's announcement that movie theaters will not be opening in the next phase of that state's reopening strategy, effectively shutting out one of the nation's biggest markets.
"In this moment what we need to be is flexible, and we are not treating this as a traditional movie release," they continued. "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."
It would seem the studio is hoping for a huge launch for "Tenet" and a run the likes of which movie theaters haven't seen since "Titanic" in 1997. Certainly anticipation is high for the film, so it's understandable that the studio is hoping it can help lure audiences back into theaters.
In these strange times, we're coming off of a weekend where "Jurassic Park" and "Jaws" -- driven largely by social-distance-designed drive-in theaters -- held the top two spots in the box office, per Deadline, proving that fans still love blockbuster films on the big screen. Certainly much of Nolan's output fits that category
The studio announced it is also delaying the rerelease of Nolan's "Inception" for its tenth anniversary, and as a lead-in to his latest project (some suspect this may be a secret sequel of sorts to that time-bending saga).
With "Tenet's" shift into August, that leaves Disney's "Mulan" in the driver's seat as the first post-shutdown blockbuster when it hits theaters on July 24, though that date could also be subject to change.
Looking determined to hit their release dates as some theaters have begun reopening is Russell Crowe's "Unhinged" on July 10 and the rom-com from Selena Gomez' July Moon Productions banner "The Broken Hearts Gallery" the following weekend.
You can bet Warner Bros. and Disney will be keeping a very close eye on these releases, and theater attendance in general, as it remains uncertain how willing people will be to return amid pandemic concerns.