Instead on July 17, Warner Bros. Pictures is partnering with exhibitors to invite audiences around the world to the 10th anniversary re-release of Nolan’s Inception, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ellen Page and Marion Cotillard. That special anniversary theatrical event also will give audiences a never-before-seen look at footage from Tenet and an exclusive sneak peek of select films on Warner Bros.’ upcoming slate.
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There’s been a high degree of suspense and scrutiny in the media over the past month as to whether Tenet would move. This is a little bit of a nudge, nothing alarmingly dramatic. A $200M production like Tenet, which doesn’t boast the starry cast that Inception did, needs the world to make bank and enough runway to promote. We heard that if Manhattan is closed, and the other boroughs are not, Tenet still could proceed. The other upside to Tenet‘s move is that major sports might be back by mid-July, but there aren’t any hard dates. MLB and its players’ union remain stuck, not over safety issues but prorated pay. NHL training camps begin July 10. NBA owners have voted for a July 31 restart of the season but is waiting for the players to sign off on it. UFC, WWE, NASCAR and pro golf already are back.
The longer lead for Tenet also gives Imax some time to finalize its prints.
The news of Tenet‘s move comes at a time when New York City has yet to announce the reopening plans for its movie theaters, which remain stuck in Phase 4 next to Broadway theaters. NATO New York is involved in talks with state officials to get cinemas moved into Phase 3. There’s that, along with the fact that mega box office market China and notable other offshore markets haven’t reopened yet.
It’s a chicken-and-egg scenario: Movie theaters won’t open without major studio product, and major studio product won’t be distributed unless theaters are open. But the go-ahead to reopen comes back to state, county and local governments.
I’m hearing no movement yet for Disney’s Mulan, still scheduled for July 24, but it wouldn’t be shocking if it moved a little later in the calendar. We heard this week from Solstice Studios’ that Unhinged would stick on its July 1 opening date — with or without New York City, and even with Tenet‘s move to July 31, but they just changed their minds and moved the Russell Crowe road rage movie to July 10. That’s the same weekend as Sony/Tri-Star’s Selena Gomez executive produced romantic comedy The Broken Hearts Gallery on July 10. Currently on July 31, the same weekend as Tenet, STX has the Gerard Butler action movie Greenland. Tenet‘s move today also prodded Warners to push Wonder Woman 1984 from Aug. 14 to Oct. 2.
The programming of four-time Oscar winner and the $830M-global-grossing Inception at least provides some content for those theaters that opt to be open. Before an event film arrives like Tenet or Mulan arrives, multiplexes will need to get their employees trained with the new COVID-19 safety standards, as well as properly equip and restock their theaters. Cinemark and Regal have mentioned that they’re planning reopening from the end of June into early July. AMC will go in early July. It will be interesting to see if the major chains shift their opening dates.
“We’re especially thrilled, in this complex and rapidly changing environment, to be bringing Christopher Nolan’s ‘Tenet,’ a global tentpole of jaw-dropping size, scope and scale, to theaters around the world on July 31,” said Toby Emmerich, Chairman, Warner Bros. Pictures Group. “It’s been longer than any of us could’ve imagined since we’ve seen a movie on the big screen, and to acknowledge Chris’ fans as we count down to ‘Tenet’’s opening day, we are also excited to offer his masterpiece ‘Inception’ in theaters for its 10th anniversary on July 17.”
“We are excited that our partners at Warner Bros. will offer a new generation of film fans the opportunity to enjoy Inception the way it was originally intended to be seen – on the big screen. Over these last months we have been keeping Warner Bros. closely informed of our work towards reopening our theatres in accordance with governmental health and safety requirements, and we are looking forward to audiences enjoying Tenet in our theatres all around the world on July 31st,” said NATO in a statement about the news of Tenet‘s move. The theaters owners organization has been working closely with Nolan on the reopening of cinemas, the five-time Oscar nominee is a huge proponent of showing movies on the big screen.
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