Well What Do You Know, Tenet Got Pushed Back Again

Warner Bros. executives, presumably deciding just when they will actually be willing to put this movie out. (Image: Warner Bros.)
Warner Bros. executives, presumably deciding just when they will actually be willing to put this movie out. (Image: Warner Bros.)

It would seem that someone at Warner Bros. looked up the current state of novel coronavirus cases in the U.S. and was like “hmm, maybe not.”

As many blockbusters have fled the next couple of months of potential release windows — even with theatre chains attempting to re-open across the U.S. with new social distancing measures in place — Christopher Nolan’s Tenet has been the most stubborn of all tentpoles, holding out longer and longer even as Warner Bros.’ other releases retreated into later this year (or even further). The movie held onto its July 17 date for months and months, until it was recently decided to delay the film… by just two weeks, until July 31.

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Turns out, the novel coronavirus did not dissipate into the ether in a fortnight, so Warner Bros. has once again officially made the decision to postpone Tenet’s release. And, perhaps apropos for a film seemingly about the surreality of time, this all sounds like something we’ve been through before: Deadline reports that the film is once again only being postponed by another two weeks, and is now pencilled in for an August 12 premiere. To keep the Nolan theme however, a 10th anniversary re-release of Inception will fill the July 31 slot in Warner’s schedule.

The eagerness for Tenet to be one of the first major blockbusters of whatever becomes of the “post-coronavirus” box office — the pandemic is still very much far from being over — by Warner Bros. has seen the studio have to contend with the fact that, even as chains begin to re-open in the hopes that major new films will be on the way in the near future, a good chunk of the public is still uncertain on just how safe it will be to venture out into a movie theatre. But with this latest delay, the company seems more adamant about once again sticking to its guns.

“In this moment what we need to be is flexible, and we are not treating this as a traditional movie release,” a new statement from the studio given to Deadline read. “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. “

Whether or not Warner Bros. will stick to this August 12 release remains to be seen, of course — like the company says, flexibility as to the situation with the coronavirus pandemic in the U.S. will play a major factor. Can we look forward to further bi-weekly delays, or will someone eventually decide that enough is enough and Tenet can join the likes of Wonder Woman 1984 in the fall? We’ll have to wait another fortnight to see, maybe. Until then, at least we have…Fortnite?

Editor’s Note: A new Australian release date has not been confirmed.