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Christopher Nolan's Tenet delayed (again) to mid-August amidst surging COVID cases

By Vanessa Armstrong

The theatrical premiere of Christopher Nolan’s upcoming $200 million tentpole film, Tenet, has been pushed out again due to the recent surge in positive COVID-19 cases across the country, according to Variety. The film was already pushed back once, from July 17 to July 31. This latest announcement pushes it back almost another two weeks to August 12, and there’s no guarantee it won’t be delayed once again, depending on the state of the global pandemic in the United States.

“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,” Warner Bros. said in a statement to Variety. “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.”

Warner Bros. is also pushing out the 10th-anniversary re-release of Nolan’s previous film, Inception, from July 17 to July 31. The production company’s move to postpone is not a surprising one given that the two major movie hubs — Los Angeles and New York City — have not yet allowed theater locations to open due to coronavirus concerns.

Like Inception, the plot of Tenet — which stars John David Washington (BlacKkKlansman), Robert Pattison (Batman), Elizabeth Debicki (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2), Kenneth Branagh (Harry Potter), and Michael Caine (The Dark Knight) — is shrouded in mystery. What’s also a mystery is when people will be comfortable enough (and safe enough) to sit in an enclosed space for 2+ hours in the middle of a global pandemic. 

Production studios, like the rest of us, are still trying to figure that out. With Tenet officially pushed out to mid-August, it seems likely that other major films like Disney’s Mulan, which is still scheduled for a July 24 release, will be postponed as well.