‘Tenet’ Will Now Open Internationally First, Before A U.S. Release

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to create uncertainty for the movie industry, Warner Bros. is attempting to chart a new path for “Tenet,” announcing a new staggered release schedule.

The highly anticipated Christopher Nolan movie will tentatively open starting Aug. 26 in over 70 countries — many in Europe and Asia, where the COVID-19 pandemic has largely been contained — before opening Labor Day weekend in the United States, the studio said Monday.

Hollywood has kept pinning its hopes on “Tenet” as the first big movie to welcome moviegoers back to theaters, and Nolan has been adamant about releasing the film in theaters. It’s highly unclear if the revised schedule will actually pan out, given the uncertainty of the pandemic and the reality that large indoor events and enclosed public spaces like movie theaters will likely remain unsafe until there is a widely available COVID-19 vaccine.

Across the U.S., COVID-19 cases have been rising, forcing many states and municipalities to close down businesses that had reopened too quickly. Even in places where the virus has become more contained, like in New York City, theaters and other large public spaces remain closed indefinitely.

Movie theaters in Europe and Asia have slowly started to reopen, but authorities continue to monitor the situation and adjust accordingly, as many countries have seen periodic spikes in COVID-19 cases.

Warner Bros. has already moved the “Tenet” release date multiple times over recent weeks, from its original date of July 17, to July 31, and then to Aug. 12.

Other movie studios and distributors have increasingly opted to completely remove big blockbusters from the movie calendar until further notice, rather than attaching a specific date, for fear of having to reschedule again.

Last week, Disney indefinitely postponed the release of its live-action “Mulan” remake, after having rescheduled it from March to August. Some other major releases, such as “A Quiet Place Part II” and “Top Gun: Maverick,” have given up on trying to open this year, and will now premiere next spring or summer.

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